President Barack Obama has been in office for more than 50 days, but the impact of the previous eight years is still leaving an impression. According to a new report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, 2007 marked the second straight year teen birth rates rose in the U.S. The first year, 2006, ended a 14 year decline. More than 70 percent of Black babies and 51.3 percent of Hispanic babies were born to unmarried women in 2007 and the teen birth rate increased by five percent between 2005 and 2007. Some experts are blaming the increase on the Bush administration’s “abstinence-only” education policy. Teen birth rates declined in previous years because teens were having less sex and more contraception education, according to Bill Albert of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy advocacy group. Albert added the rates have probably increased for the opposite reason — more sex, less contraception. Jennifer Manlove of Child Trends nonprofit research group agrees. “Two years of increases in the teen birth rate are a wake-up call showing the need to target efforts to help teens delay sexual activity, improve contraceptive use, and delay early and generally unplanned childbearing,” she said.
Now that Obama has helped make birth control pills more affordable and has set up the White House Council on Women and Girls to ensure that government considers the impact policies have on women, we’re hoping the teen birth rate starts to decline again.