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New Study: Four in Ten Teenage Girls are Sexually Active

 
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If right now you're thinking that abstinence-only education didn't work, here's some extra fuel for your politically-charged fire. Today the Centers for Disease Control, in conjunction with the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) announced that four out of every ten U.S. teenagers are sexually active. It's a mind-blowing figure, considering that the U.S. teen birth rate is more than three times the Canadian value, according to the report.

Perhaps what is more shocking however, is that this value has not made a statistically significant change since the government's prior report in 2002. Back then, 46 percent of teenage girls were having sex. Today, it's 42 percent, giving a decrease that, in statistical analysis, is most likely due to chance. So if nothing has really changed over the last decade, the next question to ask is why we aren't doing more to change these numbers.

The report, which surveyed nearly 3,000 teenage girls and boys, ages 15 to 19, also looked at trends in sexual activity, contraception use, and beliefs about unwed pregnancies. Something that did stand out in this updated report was the number of teens (boys and girls) who were okay with the latter. Teenage pregnancy, in fact, did not seem to be as strong a deterrent in avoiding sexual activity as one might have predicted. Almost 25-percent of all teens surveyed said they would be pleased to be pregnant/get a partner pregnant.

For the Jamie Lynn Spears and Bristol Palins out there, teenage pregnancy might, in fact, be nothing to sweat. But for the majority of Americans who, even in more financially secure times, have to deal with the emotional and financial struggles of raising a child, getting pregnant before you can drive a car, hold a full time job, and give yourself a fair shot at reaching your full potential seems like a fairly daunting task. We are, as the study seems to suggest, not doing a good enough job at educating our teens about options and consequences.

And speaking of options, the report also shed some light on attitudes towards contraception. Of all teens surveyed, only about half had ever used birth control pills to protect against pregnancy.

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