Friday, March 08, 2013

Teen pregnancy rates are higher in rural areas, but abortion rates are lower

Rural teenagers get pregnant at a much higher rate than those in urban areas, and are more likely to keep the babies to full term, according to recently published studies.

Teen pregnancy rates are nearly one-third higher in rural areas, reports Michelle Healey of USA Today. Julia De Clerque,​​ a research fellow and investigator at the University of North Carolina Sheps Center for Health Services Research, told Healey that availability for birth control in rural areas "lags far behind availability for teens living in urban and metro areas."

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unwanted Pregnancy conducted a study which found that in 2012, 43 out of every 1,000 girls in rural areas became pregnant, while the number was 33 in urban and suburban areas. "For many rural families, teen pregnancy and parenting are cultural norms, repeated generation after generation," Josie Weiss, at the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University, told Healey.

While rural areas' teen pregnancy rates are higher, their abortion rates are lower, reports the Guttmacher Institute. Using what it says is the most current available data, from 2008, the pro-abortion-rights institute says more than half of teenage pregnancies in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut ended in abortion, while in more rural states, such as Kentucky, South Dakota, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Utah and West Virginia, the abortion rate for teenagers was 14 percent or lower. For a PDF of the study, click here.

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