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Teen pregnancy rates in Washington at all-time low

Teen pregnancy rates in Washington at all-time low

Pregnancy rates for teens ages 15 to 19 in Washington are at their lowest since 1980.

Rates have declined since peaking in 1989 with 96 pregnancies per 1,000 teens. In 2009 the rate was 46.6 per 1,000. Pregnancy rates for teens 15 to 17 dropped in 2009 after leveling off for several years. The 2009 rate was 24 per 1,000 teens.

The reasons for the decreases aren't exactly clear. Factors that could be at play include safe sex practices, abstinence, and increased availability and acceptability of contraceptives.

Teen abortion rates are also at a new low. In 2009 the abortion rate for teens 15 to 19 was 16.6 compared to 18.7 in 2008.

All women of childbearing age (15 to 44 years) are having fewer abortions. The rate of reported abortions for this group last year was 16.7 per 1,000 compared to 18 in 2008. The pregnancy rate per 1,000 for the same group of women also dropped from 85.2 in 2008 to 83 in 2009.

This information is included in recently released data tables on reported birth rates, abortion rates, fetal death rates and pregnancy rates in Washington (www.doh.wa.gov/ehsphl/chs/chs-data/abortion/ViewDown.htm).

Information on birth control pills and other contraceptives is on the Department of Health website (www.doh.wa.gov/cfh/FPRH/BirthControl.htm). Also contact WithinReach at 1-800-322-2588 for more information about services available in Washington.

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