MTV’s “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom” aim to do a lot more than document the drama that surrounds young people ill-prepared for parenthood. Highlighting the negative consequences of having unprotected sex and the complicated decisions that must follow are the focal points of both series, and while some critics argue that putting expecting teens on TV glamorizes the issue, federal data suggests otherwise.
According to The National Center for Health Statistics (via USA Today), the birthrate for U.S. teens 15-19 in all racial and ethnic groups is at its lowest level since 1946. The report attributes the decline to “strong pregnancy prevention messages,” also saying that contraceptive use “may have contributed.”
“Young people are being more careful,” comments Sarah Brown, CEO of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, and Laura Lindberg, a senior research associate with the nonprofit Guttmacher Institute in New York, notes that contraception use during the first time a girl has sex “has gone up dramatically.” Considering it only takes one time to become pregnant, that’s some really great news to hear.
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