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Teen Contraceptive Programs Actually Increase Teen Pregnancy

Who'd a thunk it? If you tell teens there's nothing wrong with sex outside marriage and here's how to do it safely, teens will do it. Who could've seen this correlation coming?

My buddy Michael New, a visiting associate professor at Ave Maria University and an associate scholar with the Charlotte Lozier Institute, wrote an excellent piece for The Corner saying that while pro-lifers take a lot of heat for not being cheerleaders for contraception and sex-ed programs because it is said that they lead to fewer abortions, the problem is that it's just not true.

For instance, last week the Journal of Health Economics published a study by British academics David Paton and Liam Wright. It found that recent budget cuts in Great Britain’s sex-education program were correlated with statistically significant reductions in both the teen-pregnancy rate and the teen abortion rate.

Some background is important. During the 1990s, teen-pregnancy rates in Great Britain were double those of most Western European countries. As a result, in 1999 the British government launched its Teenage Pregnancy Strategy program to promote both sex education and birth control. Some £300 million ($454 million) was spent on this initiative. However, Britain’s teen-pregnancy rate and teen abortion rate remained relatively constant between 1999 and 2008. During this time, local governments were required to use Teen Pregnancy Strategy grants to fund sex-education and contraception programs.

However, during the 2008 economic downturn, this requirement was removed — and then these grants were ended altogether during the 2010–2011 fiscal year. Afterward, public-health projects were funded through a general grant from the central government. Spending on teen-pregnancy programs fell sharply, and teens’ pregnancy and abortion rates each fell by over 40 percent between 2008 and 2014.

More importantly, these policy changes gave local governments considerably more freedom about how much money to spend on sex-education and contraception programs. Because of the economic slowdown, most localities decided to enact spending reductions, but there was considerable variation regarding the timing and magnitude of these cuts. Paton and Wright nicely use this variation to analyze how spending on contraception and sex-education programs affect pregnancy and abortion rates among teens at the local level.

Their study is methodologically rigorous. The authors analyze teens’ abortion and pregnancy rates in 149 localities for every year between 2009 and 2014. They hold constant a range of demographic, economic, and political variables. As an additional control they even run a set of regressions where they compare teen-pregnancy rates with adult pregnancy rates.

The results from a range of regression models are consistent: Large cuts in contraception and sex-education programs were correlated with larger reductions in teens’ abortion and pregnancy rates.
Other studies bolster this finding. But sadly, the mainstream media ignores these well documented studies because they don't affirm their worldview.

Once again you have the anti-fact left attempting to ignore truth into non-existence.



*subhead*Science.*subhead*

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