May Is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month

May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. In recognition of that, last Wednesday, May 4, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancies highlighted that day as National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. The special focus will continue for the rest of this month and of course coincides with the month as National Foster Care month.

The goal of the National Day is to emphasize that too many teens still leave pregnancy prevention to chance. The National Day challenge was and is focused on helping teens to understand that making active decisions about preventing pregnancy is a part of taking charge of their futures. The National Campaign is encouraging teens to visit StayTeen.org to take an interactive, online challenge. Last year, more than 600,000 participated.

The country has made significant progress in reducing teen pregnancy rates but there are still challenges in comparison to other parts of the world and in certain sub-categories of teens such as the foster care population. U.S. teen pregnancy and birth rates declined over the past two decades and is at historic lows. The latest data (2014) shows that the teen birth rate was 24 births per 1,000 teen girls (age 15-19), with 249,078 births to teen girls. Since 1991, the teen birth rate declined by 61%. According to the National Campaign, in 2010 public spending on teen childbearing totaled an estimated $9.4 billion.

As part of the National Campaign’s activities last week they released a new survey that indicated that 85% of adults view teen pregnancy as an important issue (55% say very important) compared to other social and economic challenges in their community, according to a new nationally representative survey In addition, nearly seven in 10 adults overall (66%) believe more efforts to prevent teen pregnancy are needed in their community.

“The public clearly understands that progress should not be mistaken for victory,” said Ginny Ehrlich, CEO of The National Campaign. “Despite extraordinary declines in teen pregnancy and childbearing, nearly one in four teens still get pregnant by age 20 and progress remains uneven.” The National Campaign also has state by state data.

About the Author:

John Sciamanna is CWLA's Vice President of Public Policy.

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