Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support

Teenage Pregnancy in the United States

James Trussell
Family Planning Perspectives
Vol. 20, No. 6 (Nov. - Dec., 1988), pp. 262-272
Published by: Guttmacher Institute
DOI: 10.2307/2135482
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2135482
Page Count: 11
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Download ($29.00)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support
Teenage Pregnancy in the United States
Preview not available

Abstract

One out of every 10 women aged 15-19 becomes pregnant each year in the United States. Of these pregnancies, five out of every six are unintended-92 percent of those conceived premaritally, and half of those conceived in marriage. The teenage pregnancy rate is high because only a minority (one in three) of sexually active young women always use contraceptives, and only one in two of these women rely on the most effective methods. The two most common reasons given by adolescents for not using contraceptives are believing that the risk of pregnancy is small, and failing to anticipate intercourse. Experience in other developed countries clearly shows that the incidence of adolescent pregnancy can be reduced if effective contraceptives are made widely available. Although high quality sex education programs that include information about contraception, reproductive biology and responsible sexual behavior can enhance the effectiveness of contraceptive delivery systems, they are not a substitute for the actual provision of services and supplies. However, there is formidable political opposition to the provision of such services by a vocal minority who believe that the crux of the problem is premarital sexual activity, and that lowering the cost of such behavior by reducing the risk of pregnancy will both legitimize adolescent sex and increase its prevalence. Consequently, there is a political impasse that guarantees a continuing large number of adolescent pregnancies. Further, even if contraceptives and sex education were readily available to all adolescents, there would still be a pool of teenagers who would see little benefit in postponing parenthood. This pool would be composed overwhelmingly of the poor and of blacks and Hispanics. Increasing the demand for pregnancy prevention among young women and men in this hardcore, high-risk group will be extremely hard to achieve without a fundamental restructuring of society.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
262
    262
  • Thumbnail: Page 
263
    263
  • Thumbnail: Page 
264
    264
  • Thumbnail: Page 
265
    265
  • Thumbnail: Page 
266
    266
  • Thumbnail: Page 
267
    267
  • Thumbnail: Page 
268
    268
  • Thumbnail: Page 
269
    269
  • Thumbnail: Page 
270
    270
  • Thumbnail: Page 
271
    271
  • Thumbnail: Page 
272
    272