Study Reveals Decline in Teen Pregnancies, Abortions

In what is perhaps the most comprehensive study produced in a decade, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed record drops in the rates of teenage pregnancies and abortion.

According to the results, both abortion and teenage pregnancies have been steadily dropping since 1990.

Overall, the total number of abortions fell 24 percent to 1.22 million in 2004 from a historical high of 1.61 million in 1990.

Teenage pregnancies also declined during the same period, accounting for only 12 percent of all pregnancies in 2004 – a drop from 15 percent fourteen years earlier.

As rates of abortion and teenage pregnancy had been steadily rising for decades, the new results were something of a curiosity for researchers.

Stephanie Ventura, the lead researcher of the study, noted that among the reasons for a decline in abortion rates and teenage pregnancies was the overall decline in total pregnancies and a new tendency among women "to postpone child bearing and delay the start of their families."

Ventura, while pointing out the correlation, noted the significant drop in the abortion rate among women ages 15 to 44 from nearly 30.0 per 1,000 women in 1990 to only 19.7 per 1,000 women in 2004.

"More [women] are likely to have the baby rather than having an abortion compared to 1990," Ventura said, according to Reuters.

Lower abortion rates reflect "a lot of different reasons: changes in access to abortion, changes in attitudes about having a baby and a decline in teenage pregnancies, which end in abortion in many cases," she added, according to Bloomberg News.

Even as abortion and teenage pregnancy rates decreased overall, however, rates continued to be disproportionately heavy among blacks and higher than any other racial group.

"There are large racial disparities in most of these measures," Ventura told Reuters.

Nearly 40 percent of pregnancies to black women were aborted, according to the study.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which exists "to promote health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability," is the nation's largest public health agency.

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