Friday, April 08, 2011

Teen pregnancy rate drops 37% in Canada

Improved sex education and access to contraceptives under universal health care contributed to a drop of 37% in teen pregnancies between 1996 and 2006. The birth rate has dropped and the abortion rate has dropped, which means that better contraception is working.
Better access to contraception, higher quality sex education and shifting social norms have contributed to a 36.9 per cent decline in Canada’s teen birth and abortion rate between 1996 and 2006, according to a report released today by the Sex Information and Education Council of Canada.

Alexander McKay, Research Coordinator, Sex Information and Education Council of Canada, said:
“It’s important to look at teen pregnancy rates because they’re a basic fundamental indicator of young women’s sexual and reproductive health. While not all teen pregnancies are a bad thing, when we see [rates] dropping, it’s a fairly clear indicator that young women are doing increasingly well in terms of controlling and protecting their reproductive health,”

He went on:
“In comparison to the United States, we tend to have a more balanced, sensible approach to adolescent sexual health. Generally speaking what you find is that the more a society has an accepting attitude toward the reality of adolescent sexuality, the lower the teen pregnancy rate is. Canadians tend to have a more relaxed attitude towards adolescent sexuality than people in the United States.”

Mr. McKay said America’s emphasis on abstinence-only sex ed “tends to result in a higher percentage of teens becoming pregnant,” as does the country’s lack of universal health care. Poverty is another factor.

The report appears in the current issue of The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality.

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