The CDC’s research builds on previous data that showed the United States’ teen pregnancy rate has plunged to record lows since 1991, largely because of adolescents’ expanded access to contraception. “Credit goes to teens themselves who are clearly making better decisions about sex, contraception, and their future,” Bill Albert, the chief program officer of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, told the Associated Press.
But those type of preventative health resources aren’t equally available to teens in every part of the country. Over the past decade, teen pregnancy rates have consistently been higher in Southern states that don’t provide students with adequate sexual health instruction. Since abstinence-only courses often present misleading information about contraception, a full 60 percent of young adults underestimate birth control’s effectiveness and are more likely to skip it because they don’t believe it will make a difference. And teens in rural areas still struggle to access contraception, partly because there are fewer health clinics in less populous places and partly because a societal stigma surrounding teen sexuality still pervades conservative communities.
Unfortunately, this correlation isn’t limited to teen pregnancy and teen births. Southern states that don’t offer comprehensive sex ed classes also have the highest rates of STDs.
Brought to you by someone who lives in one of the “less than 20% decline” which I can say with certainty is because we still only have abstinence only education, which I plan to change as soon as I finish training.