The New York Times reports
Teenage birth rates are driven by rates of sex, contraception and abortion. In the 1990s, teenage sex rates dropped and condom use rose because teenagers were scared of AIDS, said Dr. John S. Santelli, chairman of the department of population and family health at Columbia University.
But recent advances in AIDS treatments have lowered concerns about the disease, and AIDS education efforts, which emphasized abstinence and condom use, have flagged.
Perhaps as a result, teenage sex rates have risen since 2001 and condom use has dropped since 2003. Abortion rates have held steady for a decade, although numbers from 2005 and 2006 are not available.
Kristin A. Moore, a senior scholar at Child Trends, a nonprofit children’s research organization, said the increase in the teenage birth rate was particularly alarming because even the 2005 rate was far higher than that in other industrialized countries.
And yet the US has the highest level of religiousity of any industrialized industry.
The Washington Post observes
The increase was greatest among black teens, whose birth rate rose 5 percent between 2005 and 2006, reaching 63.7 per 1,000 teens. That was particularly disappointing because black teens had previously made the greatest gains, with the rate among 15-to-17-year-olds dropping by more than half.On a related topic, a recent study does find a positive association between (self-reported) fidelity in marriage and church-going.
"There had been dramatic, dramatic improvement in that community," said [Sarah Brown of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy]. "All of us had hoped it would continue to decline."
The rate rose 2 percent, to 83 births per 1,000, for Hispanic teens, and 3 percent, to 26.6 per 1,000, for white teens.
Commenters at The Lead rather soundly rejected ideas like father-daughter purity balls to reduce teen sex. What do readers recommend to address the problem of teenage pregnancy in America?