Teen sexual activity has decreased dramatically in the US over the past decade, according to reports by official government statistics, and the drop is being linked to the growing use of abstinence programs in schools.
Between 1991 and 2005, teenage sexual activity rates dropped significantly across three population groups--black, Hispanic and white, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control.
While the greatest reduction was seen among black teens, down to 67.6 percent in 2005 from a high of 81.4 percent in 1991, the reversal among white students was also significant. The rate of teenage sexual activity among white students has remained below the 50 percent mark since the mid 90’s and is now at 43 percent. Among Hispanic teens, the drop was smaller, from 53.1 to 51.0.
Teen pregnancy rates have also dropped markedly since peaking in 1994--according to the National Vital Statistics Report, the unwed birthrate for teens age 15-19 years has dropped by 25 percent since 1994.
The reduction in pregnancy rates parallels a dramatic reduction in teen abortion rates. The number of teenage girls obtaining abortions has been halved since 1988, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. At peak rates, teen abortions occurred at 44 per 1000 girls. The current rate is just 22 per 1000 girls.
"Clearly, many teens have heard the truth and are abstaining from sex -- a decision that is best for them in every way," said Janice Shaw Crouse, Senior Fellow at the Beverly LaHaye Institute, in a Townhall.com column. "Along with decreased sexual activity among teens, we are seeing corresponding decreases in teen births and teen abortions."
"These simultaneous reverses in trends indicate that teens are choosing a path that is proven to lead to a bright and promising future both in their personal lives and in every other aspect of their well-being."
Crouse says the increase in abstinence programs over the past decade parallels the decrease in sexual activity. While the media routinely condemn abstinence programs as ineffective, the legacy of "safe sex" education is an explosion in teen pregnancy rates and STIs.
"During the 30-year reign of condom-based sex education, teen sexual activity increased, teen births dramatically increased and teen abortions were going up," Crouse pointed out. "What's different now? Have teens suddenly learned how to use condoms more effectively and consistently than adult women who are using contraception but are frequently surprised nonetheless to find themselves pregnant? Somehow, I doubt it!"
Listen to the Podcast:
Talk Show America 5/04/2007