information for California providers of adolescent health services
A Project of the National Center for Youth Law
CA’s Steepest Decline in Teen Pregnancy from 1992 to 2005
California’s teen pregnancy rate declined by 52 percent between 1992 and 2005, the steepest drop registered by any state over that period—and far above the national decline of 37 percent. Public health experts credit this record decline to California’s aggressive and evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention efforts dating back to the 1990s, according to Winning Campaign: California’s Concerted Effort to Reduce Its Teen Pregnancy Rate, published in the Spring 2010 issue of Guttmacher Policy Review.
“California has made teen pregnancy prevention a high public policy priority, with a strong emphasis on providing teens comprehensive sex education and the health care services and counseling they need to prevent pregnancy,” says Heather Boonstra, author of the new analysis. “Above all, California’s success demonstrates that policies matter—both in allotting the necessary resources and in ensuring that the right types of information and services are available.”
Boonstra says a concerted effort in several key policy areas was at the core of California’s success:
“In California, the whole of the effort clearly added up to more than the sum of the parts,” Boonstra says. “However, past success does not automatically translate into future results, and California’s progress could be as fragile as it has been remarkable. The current economic recession and chronic state budget crises have put teen pregnancy prevention programs in jeopardy and present significant future challenges. It would be truly tragic for California to put at risk the hard-won gains of the past two decades.” Related research on the most recent trends in U.S. teen pregnancy rates the U.S. teen pregnancy rate increased among all ethnic and racial groups between 2005 and 2006.
Earlier research had documented that the significant drop in U.S. teen pregnancy rates in the 1990s was overwhelmingly the result of more and better use of contraceptives among sexually active teens. However, this decline started to stall out in the early 2000s, at the same time that abstinence-only programs were becoming more widespread, teens were receiving less information about contraception in schools, and their use of contraceptives was declining.
Click here for Winning Campaign: California’s Concerted Effort to Reduce Its Teen Pregnancy Rate by Heather D. Boonstra.
The Guttmacher Policy Review analyzes reproductive health policy in Washington, DC and state capitals across the country—providing the information critical to understanding, anticipating and effecting change.
The Guttmacher Institute works to advance sexual and reproductive health in the United States and worldwide through an interrelated program of social science research, policy analysis and public education designed to generate new ideas, encourage enlightened public debate, promote sound policy and program development, and, ultimately, inform individual decision making.
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