ANCHOR LEAD: THE RATE OF TEEN BIRTHS CONTINUES TO DECLINE, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Births to teenagers dropped by almost one-fourth between 1997 and 2004, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports. Anne Burke, an obstetrician gynecologist at Johns Hopkins, says that doesn’t mean the battle is over.
BURKE: It has declined about 25%. I’m not sure I can say I’m surprised but I think it’s definitely good news. But as the report pointed out, it’s still true that the US has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the industrialized world. I don’t think we do a good job in this country of sex education and I know I’m not the first person to say that, but it’s pretty clear that for sex education to work you need a comprehensive program that can include abstinence but also need to include others options like contraception and safe sex practices. :27
Teenagers who live in the Northeast have the lowest birth rate, with the highest rate seen in the South. The majority of teen births were paid for by Medicaid, the federal program for those lacking health insurance. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.