As of 2023, there are still 19 states that practice abstinence-only education: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.
We hope to see this number reach zero one day.
At FPA Women’s Health, we also want to prevent teen pregnancy. However, we know abstinence-only policies don't line up with the reality that teens are sexually active. In fact, 70% of teens are sexually active and 7% have already had their first sexual experience by 13.
Knowing the goal is health and safety for teens, we believe our primary responsibility is to make sure they understand how to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancy.
Success in preventing teen birth is directly correlated to counseling teens about all contraceptive options, including the safest and most effective methods such as the long-acting IUDs and Implant. Many myths are still propagated, even in the medical communities, regarding teens inability to use long-acting birth control. In reality - IUDs and implants are ideal for teens who are sexually active because they don't have to remember to use them!
Knowing teens are especially affected by social stigmas surrounding sex, we also aim to create a secure space for discussion. When counseling teens, we talk to them about safely exploring their developing bodies and sexuality.
Why it Matters: The Cost of Teen Pregnancy
Teen pregnancy and childbearing are associated with increased social and economic costs through immediate and long-term effects on teen parents and their children. Pregnancy and birth are significant contributors to high school dropout rates among girls.
Based on CDC data, only about 50% of teen mothers receive a high school diploma by 22 years of age, whereas approximately 90% of women who do not give birth during adolescence graduate from high school. The children of teenage mothers are also more likely to have lower school achievement and to drop out of high school, have more health problems, be incarcerated at some time during adolescence, give birth as a teenager, and face unemployment as a young adult.
The good news is that, according to the CDC, teen births are declining! The US teen birth rate (births per 1,000 females aged 15 to 19 years) has been declining since 1991. Teen birth rates continued to decline from 17.4 per 1,000 females in 2018 to 16.7 per 1,000 females in 2019. Access to long acting contraceptive devices likely played a large part in this success!
At FPA Women’s Health, we trust teens to make the best choices for their own bodies. If you know a teen that could benefit from some honest, evidenced-based contraceptive advice book them an appointment at FPA Women’s Health today!
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