If you are looking for some good news, there actually is some. According to a front page article in USA Today (Tuesday April 10, 2012) teenage birth rates in the USA have reached a new low for the modern era of 34.3 births per 1000 women age 15 to 19.
Do you remember the "good old days" of the 1950s? Well, guess what- in 1957, 96.3 births were recorded per 1000 teen females. Wow, we are almost down too 1/3 of that high rate!! Of course, marriage was often in the picture for those 1950s teens- a shotgun marriage probably, but a marriage. Not always, however. Do you remember the year that cousin Nellie went to visit grandma in Colorado during her senior year of high school? Yeah.
What explains this remarkable social success in the USA? Well, mostly contraception. Teens are reportedly not having any less sex than they used to, but they are having more RESPONSIBLE sex. If you hate abortion, well, there's good news there too. The rate of teen abortion is declining as well, because when contraception prevents a conception, there is no need to make desperate decisions between adoption, abortion, or raising a child without the resources to do so.
It has been fashionable these past few months to agonize about contraception in the health insurance arena as an invasion of American religious freedoms, but it's worth mentioning that contraception is working to reduce abortion rates and the number of babies raised by girls who are not ready for the responsibility. Talking a good line about teens staying chaste until marriage? Not so much, no, that's not working. I realize that is going to enrage Rick Santorum and make him want to "throw up," but sorry Rick, we have a choice. We can turn back the clock and cling to the fiction of abstinent teens and deal with the abortions, adoptions, and single parent desperate 18 year old moms (shotgun weddings largely being a thing of the past now)- or we can man up and provide contraception and the emotional and negotiative skills to deal with it.
Which do you prefer?