Teenage Girls Given Choice of Free Contraceptives Get Far Fewer Abortions
Girls allowed to choose between free contraceptive methods had 76% fewer abortions than their peers in the general population – and most chose IUDs
Three in 10 teenage girls in the U.S become pregnant each year-a rate far higher than in other industrialized countries. But when girls are counseled about the most effective contraceptives and given their pick of birth control at no cost, their rates of pregnancy drop by 78% and they get 76% fewer abortions than the general population of sexually active teens.
That’s what a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests, in which researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis attempted to see what would happen when they tore down the three main barriers to teenage birth control-ignorance of options, limited access and prohibitive cost.
They studied a group of 1,404 teenage girls enrolled in the Contraceptive CHOICE project, a study of adolescents and women at high risk for unintended pregnancy. 62% of the girls were black and 99% were sexually active. Black teens have even higher rates of pregnancy than the rest of the population: 4 in 10 become pregnant, compared with 2 in 10 white teens.
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