By Jonathon Van Maren
The New York Times has published an interesting report on the declining rate of teen pregnancy in the United States titled “Their Mothers Were Teenagers. They Didn’t Want That for Themselves.” It contains some good news. The report notes that the number of high school students who say they have had sex has dropped by 29%–and that this is largely due to teens deciding to delay intercourse. While there are multiple factors at play—including, University of Virginia sociologist Brad Wilcox noted, an increasing amount of time spent in front of screens—abortion is not one of them:
Abortion does not appear to have driven the decline in teen births. As a share of teenage pregnancy, it has remained steady over the past decade, although the data, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, omits medication abortions, and analysts say the recent Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion, could cause teen births to rise. If adolescent girls are more cautious with sex and birth control, what explains the caution? A common answer is that more feel they have something to lose. “There is just a greater confidence among young women that they have educational and professional opportunities,” Mr. Wilcox said.
Pro-life statistician Dr. Michael New noted that the report was “surprisingly fair-minded,” especially as it noted that “starting in the late 1980s or early 1990s, there has been a durable reduction in the percentage of teenagers who are sexually active.”