Civil Liberties

The Kids: Still Alright


According to a new CDC study, teen pregnancy and abortion rates are both at historic lows.

The pregnancy rate for teenagers fell 40 percent during the 1990–2005 period, to 70.6 pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15–19 years. This rate was the lowest reported since 1976.

The overall decline for teenagers is reflected in significant declines in rates for live births and induced abortions, with much steeper declines for abortions (down 53 percent) compared with live births (down 32 percent). The pregnancy rate declined much more rapidly from 1990 to 2005 for younger teenagers 15–17 years (48 percent) than for older teenagers 18–19 years (30 percent). Pregnancy rates declined by 47–49 percent each for black and white non-Hispanic teenagers and by 23 percent for Hispanic teenagers.

These declines occurred over the same period social conservatives have been warning us about the consequences of a sexualized culture, the mainstreaming and widespread availability of pornography, the licentious nature of the Internet, and so on. But like most major social indicators over the last 20 years (last week, the FBI reported that reported rapes are also at a 20-year low), teen pregnancy and abortion rates are moving in the right direction. And pretty swiftly.

Save, I guess, for obesity. Maybe the next panic will be that our teenagers are too fat to have sex.