NC Teen Pregnancy Rates Hit New Low
Special Report - October 19, 2010
North Carolina’s teen pregnancy rate fell to a record low in 2009, according to data released October 18 by the State Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The rate of teen pregnancy declined 4.4 percent, from 58.6 out of every 1,000 girls ages 15 to 19 in 2008 to 56 in 2009. The rate fell in every age, racial, and ethnic category and in about two-thirds of the state’s 100 counties. Significant racial and ethnic disparities remain with 45.5 pregnancies per 1,000 white teen girls as compared to 74.3 pregnancies per 1,000 minority teen girls, including a shocking 118.4 pregnancies for every 1,000 Hispanic teens. With the exception of a slight increase with the rest of the nation between 2005 and 2006, North Carolina’s teen pregnancy rate has declined steadily every year, including dropping seven percent between 2007 and 2008.
The 2009 report also found a drop in abortion rates in every category. The North Carolina Reported Pregnancies report includes the state’s most comprehensive data on abortion rates. In 2009, “26 in-state licensed facilities reported 30,596 abortions” in 14 counties, representing a 4.0 percent decrease from 2008. The number of abortions of North Carolina residents dropped more than 4 percent since 2008 to 26,123. More than 99 percent of the state’s abortions were performed in non-hospital facilities like free-standing clinics, and more than 5,000, about 20 percent, were performed on mothers from out of state. Nearly 33 percent of the state’s abortions were in Mecklenburg County, and nearly one-quarter were in Wake County. The average abortion patient was 25.7 years old and had attained 12.9 years of education. Minorities accounted for 49 percent of the abortions in the state and more than three-fourths were acquired by unmarried women.
Condom-based sex education proponents are already trying to give credit for the decline to more comprehensive sex education being taught in schools this year in light of the General Assembly passing the Healthy Youth Act (HYA) in 2009, despite the fact that the law did not go into effect until this Fall. The HYA expanded the state’s Abstinence-Until-Marriage curriculum to include more information on contraceptives and sexual abuse, giving school districts unchecked leeway to expand their programs to include more troubling aspects of comprehensive curricula. However, it maintained the requirement that schools teach students that abstinence from sexual activity until marriage is the best means of avoiding the myriad of negative consequences associated with early sexual activity.
“In light of the fact that the HYA did not even take effect until about a month ago, it is ridiculous, not to mention dishonest, to give any credit to the HYA for the significant decline in North Carolina’s teen pregnancy rate,” said Bill Brooks, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “North Carolina’s teen pregnancy rate has declined consistently since the 1990s, when the General Assembly enacted the law requiring the teaching of abstinence-until-marriage (AUM) education in public schools. In fact, since North Carolina began to focus on AUM education, the state has seen teen pregnancy rates decline by over 35 percent.”
Brooks added, “We should be giving credit where credit is due, and that is to abstinence and to more teens who are making smarter decisions. The federal government recently awarded the state Title V funding to teach abstinence education in schools. This latest good news about the decline in teen pregnancy rates should serve as even more of an incentive to the State to be sure they use this money to fund authentic abstinence-until-marriage programs in our schools.”
NC Teen Pregnancy Rates Hit 30-Year Low - February 4, 2010
NC To Receive Abstinence Funds - October 1, 2010
Ten Reasons to Keep Abstinence Education in N.C. - FNC - Jul/Aug 2009
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