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Teenage Pregnancy Prevention - USA

Page history last edited by Robert Hackett 6 years, 11 months ago

Note: please note that this issue brief should (a) link back to the issue overview on this topic, (b) be focused either the local, state, national, or global level, and (c) be neutrally presented, based on facts, and include footnotes for each of the items.  See the Research Guide and Information Sources to assist you. 


Link here to the Teenage Pregnancy Prevention overview page. 


Scope of the Problem  factual statements on the extent of the problem in the past, current, or future

  • Teen pregnancy rates are much higher in the United States than in many other developed countries. The United States' rates are double and even up to eight times as high as some other developed countries. 
  • The U.S. also has one of the highest rates of Sexually Transmitted Infections.  
  • The rate of teen pregnancies was dropping as of 2004 but with the current status of the economy, rates have been increasing. There was a huge decline from 1991 to 2004 in expenses for teen mothers causing tax money to be saved.
  • Each year about 900,000 teen pregnancies occur, most unplanned.
    • Of the six million pregnancies that occur each year throughout the United States half are unintended. (http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/state_data/states/new_jersey.html
    • 31% of women become pregnant before the age of 20 (plannedparenthood.org) 
    • 80% of teenage pregnancies are unintended (plannedparenthood.org) 
    • Of developed nations, the United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate of 40.4 per 1000 women ages 15-19 pregnant, the next highest country is Australia at 16.1 per 1000 (plannedparenthood.org) 
    • 10% of all United States births were to teens in 2005 (plannedparenthood.org) 


Past Policy  key legislation and milestones including significant policy and funding shifts, major studies, etc.


  • In 2001 H.R. 3469, The Family Life Education Act was introduced a second time. The bill was to provide for the reduction of adolescent pregnancy, HIV rates, and other sexually transmitted diseases. The bill never became law and the text of the bill was never publicly released.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for numerous programs designed to slow teenage pregnancy rates. "President Bush's budget for fiscal year 2003 provides an additional $33 million in funding for abstinence education, fulfilling the President's promise to increase abstinence funding to $135 million." The Department of Health and Human Services funds programs in 2234 communities and bases their ideals on community and family members helping to build community relationships to effectively strengthen teens in the community, giving teens a positive outlook and helping them develop the ability to make smart choices.


Current Policy  summary of current policies in the form of legislation, programs, and funding

  • Federal policy for HIV/AIDS Educaton is as follows:   "The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided funding and technical assistance specifically for HIV education since 1988.  In 2000, the CDC budgeted approximately $47 million for in-school HIV education.  In 1996, as part of its broad welfare reform package, Congress made significant federal funds available over a five-year period to promote absinence-only messages through community-based and in-school programs."  [1]

  • FederalmPolicy for Abstinence-Only Education is as follows:  "Abstinence-only sex education teaches abstinence until marriage as the only option for teenagers.  Proponents of abstinence-only education argue against any discussion or education about contraception and safer sex, asserting that this sends young people a mixed message that contradicts the absolute perscription of abstinence - thus encouraging sexual activity."   [2]  


Key Organizations/Individuals   contacts for public and private organizations and key individuals


Bibliography   web sites, reports, articles, and other reference material 



  1. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. (2002). Sex Education in the U.S.: Policy and Politics. Retrieved from www.kff.org/youthhivstds/3224-02-index.cfm
  2. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. (2002). Sex Education in the U.S.: Policy and Politics. Retrieved from http://www.kff.org/youthhivstds/upload/Sex-Education-in-the-U-S-Policy-and-Politics.pdf

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