After a decade of decline, teen pregnancy rates are up. CBS News/Washington Post:
The pregnancy rate among 15-to-19-year-olds increased 3 percent between 2005 and 2006 – the first jump since 1990, according to an analysis of the most recent data collected by the federal government and the nation’s leading reproductive-health think tank. [See that Gutmacher Institute report here.]
The cause of the increase is the subject of debate. Several experts blamed the increase in teen pregnancies on sex-education programs that focus on encouraging abstinence. Others said the reversal could be due to a variety of factors, including an increase in poverty, an influx of Hispanics and complacency about AIDS, prompting lax use of birth control such as condoms.
“It could be a lot of things coming together,” said Rebecca Maynard, a professor of economics and social policy at the University of Pennsylvania. “It could be we just bottomed out, and whenever you are at the bottom, it tends to wiggle around. This may or may not be a sustained rise.”
It may not explain the change in trend, but teenage rates of pregnancy are high, and under studied factor is sex between teenage females and older males. From the AMA Newsletter (no link):
Reproductive coercion seen as possible factor in teen pregnancy rate. Newsweek (1/27, Kliff) [Teens subject to reproductive coercion] reports that a study appearing in the journal Contraception found that “about a third of women reporting partner violence experienced reproductive coercion, as did 15 percent of women who had never reported violence.” The research is said to be “particularly relevant” in light of the Guttmacher Institute study, as “reproductive coercion among adolescents could be an overlooked factor behind the United States’ unusually high, and now increasing, teen-pregnancy rate.”
Here’s the link to that Newsweek article cited by the AMA.