TEEN BIRTH RATE: U.S. Rate
The recently released United Nations Population Fund report, "Lives Together, Worlds Apart," reports that the United States has the highest teen birth rate of any industrialized country in the world, according to a Zero Population Growth press release. The report finds that the United States' teen birth rate is 59 per 1,000 women aged 15-19, compared to four, 55, and 56 per thousand in the Netherlands, Burundi and Rwanda, respectively. ZPG President Peter Kostmayer, noting that the U.S. teen birth rate is more than twice as high as the rates in Algeria, Vietnam, Lebanon, and Croatia and higher than the average for all of Northern Africa and Western Asia, said that the report "raises troubling questions about our commitment to giving young women control over their own lives, since we know that the vast majority of teenage pregnancies are unintended. Behind these statistics lie the shattered lives of millions of young women." Kostmayer labels the teen birth rate in the United States a "national scandal" and calls for "comprehensive, age appropriate sex education that empowers young women to delay sexual activity and gives them the knowledge they need to prevent unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases." He concludes that "[t]he problem isn't lack of knowledge; it's a lack of political commitment" (ZPG release, 9/20).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.