According to the report Abortion in the United States: Incidence and Access to Services, 2005 published by the Guttmacher Institute in the journal Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, the abortion rate is at its lowest level in over 30 years.
Noticeably missing from the report was the significant decline since 1991 in the percentage of teens who reported ever having had sexual intercourse. Evidence of the decline is detailed in a recent report provided by the Federal Interagency on Child and Family Statistics. The report shows that in 2005, the percentages of students who had reported ever having had sexual experience had significantly dropped since 1991. In 2005, the percentages of those who reported such experience were:
- 34.3 percent of 9th graders, down from 39.0 in 1991
- 42.8 percent of 10th graders, down from 48.2 in 1991
- 51.4 percent of 11th graders, down from 62.4 in 1991
- 63.1 percent of 12th graders, down from 66.7 in 1991
Furthermore, the recent report Emerging Answers 2007, which made headlines across the nation in news stories critiquing abstinence until marriage programs, also details this significant decline:
The overall decline in teen pregnancy in the 1990s reflects both a decrease in sexual activity among teens and an improvement in contraceptive use among sexually experienced teens. However, estimates of the relative contribution of greater abstinence and better contraceptive use vary with the time periods studied, the data sources examined, and the statistical methods used. Careful analyses generally suggest that about 15 percent to 50 percent of the decrease is due to fewer girls having sex, and 50 percent to 85 percent is due to better contraceptive use (Kirby, 2007, p. 30)
Increased abstinence prevents pregnancy and abortion, yet the authors of the report, all associated with the Guttmacher Institute and well aware of the impact of abstinence on pregnancy rates, chose to leave this fact out of their article.
Ignoring the contribution in the decline of sexually experienced teens only serves to overinflate the effectiveness of contraception - and given the fact that the authors are well aware of the increase in abstinence, it appears this wasn't an accidental oversight. This shouldn't be a surprise, since the abstinence until marriage message isn't a big money maker for Planned Parenthood, the parent company of the Guttmacher Institute.
Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics (2007), America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2007. Federal Interagency of Child and Family Statistics, Washington, DC: Us Government Printing Office. Retrieved July 13, 2007 from http://childstats.gov/pdf/ac2007/appendices.pdf.
Kirby, D (2007). Emerging Answers 2007: Research findings on Programs to Reduce Teen Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases, National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, Washington, DC. Retrieved November 8, 2007, from http://www.thenationalcampaign.org/EA2007/EA2007_full.pdf .