This week, it has been widely reported that teen pregnancy has plummeted due to greater use of contraception.
These reports are misleading (to say the least).
While teen birthrates have dramatically decreased in recent years, facts do not support contraception as the main cause.
Interestingly enough, liberal site MotherJones has been the only media source challenging the Guttmacher Institute’s new “finding”. MotherJones used the Guttmacher’s own charts to show that contraception use dropped slightly between 2009 and 2012—yet teenage pregnancies fell by 20% during the same period.
(Hmmm, why would Guttmacher gloss over these statistics on contraception? Perhaps because they began as Planned Parenthood’s research arm?)
As MotherJones noted, long-term data tells the same story. Teen pregnancy rates “dropped steadily from 1992 to 2006, despite virtually no change in contraceptive use.”
In other words—contraception use either went down or stayed the same over the past several decades. Yet fewer teens got pregnant.
So what caused 25 years of declining teen pregnancy? Though MotherJones does not challenge Guttmacher’s claim that teen sexual activity rates have stayed the same, other sources say they’ve changed.
The CDC has reported that the percentage of high school students who are currently sexually active (had sexual intercourse during the past three months) decreased from 38% in 1991 to 30% in 2015.
CDC also reported that nearly 60% of today’s high school students have never had sex – an increase of 28% since 1991.
As it turns out, a great way for teens to avoid pregnancy is to—gasp—not have sex! And they’ve been great at that lately. Good job, teens!