Some relevant statistics about teen pregnancy:
* 3 in 10 girls in the U.S. will get pregnant by age 20, and 1 in 6 will be a teen mother.
* Nationally, more than half of girls who have babies before age 18 don't finish high school.
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy was founded in 1996. Now in their second decade of work, there are two notable demographic factors that capture the attention:
* First, despite the nation's progress in reducing teen pregnancy, about three in 10 teens get pregnant by age 20, the rates in the United States are still the highest among fully industrialized nations, and, after 15 years of continuous decline, the U.S. teen birth rate is now on the rise. Moreover, among some groups, especially the large and growing Latino population, rates of teen pregnancy and birth are well above the national average and are declining far more slowly than the overall rates.
* Second, it is now evident that although teens have been making remarkable progress over the past two decades, adults have not. This is especially apparent in the nation's rate of unplanned pregnancy. At present, about half of pregnancies are unplanned and the rate of the progress made in reducing unplanned pregnancy in the 1980s and into the 1990s seems to have almost completely halted. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy also offers advice to single young adults and single 20-somethings searching for resources. For more information, click here.
Unplanned pregnancy is at the root of a number of important public health and social challenges. For example, it explains the vast majority of teen pregnancies (less than one-fifth of teens say that they planned to become pregnant when they did), and the negative consequences of teen pregnancy have been well described by The National Campaign over the last decade. Unplanned pregnancy also bears a number of unfortunate and costly health consequences.
Another major consequence of high rates of unplanned pregnancy is, of course, high levels of abortion. Although there are many deeply felt and strongly held opinions nationwide about the proper place of abortion in American life, all would prefer that fewer women be faced with difficult decisions brought on by unplanned pregnancy.