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Teen pregnancy and abortion rates drop to new lows

Teen pregnancy, abortion rates drop to new lows

Here’s some good news on the teen pregnancy front: Rates are continuing to fall, dropping 15 percent in two years, from 2008 to 2010, and down 51 percent from their 1990 peak, according to a report released last Monday from the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit organization that works to promote sex education and reproductive rights.

In 2010, about 614,000 pregnancies occurred among teens ages 15 to 19 — for a rate of 57.4 pregnancies per 1,000 teens — which is about half the 1.3 million pregnancies that occurred in 1990. The teen abortion rate declined 66 percent between its 1988 peak and 2010 (from 43.5 abortions per 1,000 to 14.7 per 1,000).

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Massachusetts was among the states with the lowest teen pregnancy rates: The state, along with Maine, was tied for fourth-lowest in the nation with a pregnancy rate of 37 per 1,000 teens. New Hampshire had the lowest rate among states with 28 per 1,000 followed by Vermont with 32 per 1,000.

New Mexico had the highest teen pregnancy rate of 80 per 1,000 followed by Mississippi, Texas, and Arkansas.

While pregnancy rates dropped among older teens, more reported having sex, which the study authors said suggested improved contraceptive use and use of more effective methods.

“It appears that efforts to ensure teens can access the information and contraceptive services they need to prevent unwanted pregnancies are paying off,” study leader Kathryn Kost said in a statement. D.K.

Deborah Kotz can be reached at dkotz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @debkotz2.
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