Analysis Sexual Health

Teen Birth Rates Are Down: Ten Proven Assertions About Why We’re Succeeding

Lon Newman

To confront the most often-repeated misrepresentations, I ask readers to consider these ten assertions about sexual health and education in the United States.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) statistics released this week show that the U.S. teen birth rate is at its lowest rate in more than 50years. Although our teen birth rate is higher than other industrialized nations, we have made enormous progress. The authors of the study credited pregnancy prevention efforts – primarily increased contraceptive use among sexually active teens — for the decline.

For the three decades I have been working to bring teen birth and abortion rates down, opponents of contraception, sexual health education, and access to sexual health care have persistently and consistently distorted facts and twisted logic to suit their agenda

The CDC results give us an opportunity to celebrate our proven success. To confront the most often-repeated misrepresentations, I ask readers to consider these ten assertions about sexual health and education in the United States.

Ten Truths about Sexual Health

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  1. The teen birth rate is down.
  2. The abortion rate is down.
  3. Access to family planning improves maternal and child health.
  4. Sex education increases knowledge and decreases risks.
  5. Condoms work.
  6. Contraception works.
  7. Emergency Contraception (Plan B- One Step ™) works by preventing pregnancy. It does not cause an abortion.
  8. Access to a full range of contraceptives decreases the risks of sexual behaviors without increasing risky sexual behavior.
  9. Abstinence works while people remain abstinent. When they’re not, it doesn’t.
  10. Family planning clinics are not in business because of the high profit margin.

These ten concepts have been supported, substantiated, replicated or demonstrated over decades. Statistical results are based on scientific and/or medical standards.  For my entire career, ideologues have taken a directly opposite stance to each and every one, by any and every means — except credible evidence. 

Evidence-based journalism is the foundation of democracy. Rewire.News, is devoted to evidence-based reporting on reproductive and sexual health, rights and justice and the intersections of race, environmental, immigration, and economic justice.

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