If you’re a frequent (or infrequent, even) reader of The Gloss, you know that we are big fans of birth control and sex education. We think women deserve to make their own individual reproductive choices, whether it’s to abstain from contraceptives or take the Pill or have abortions: it should be up to them. Of course, younger females in their teen years need a strong education to understand how each of these options works and how to effectively choose for themselves, and it would seem that this approach is working at least somewhat: teenage pregnancy statistics are at a historic low.

The teen pregnancy rate has taken a big drop in twenty years, from 61.8 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 19 in 1991 to 31.3 births per 1,000 teenage girls in 2011. Experts say that there are many reasons why it’s declined, but teaching kids to make good decisions is key. According to Dr. Jill Rabin, chief of ambulatory care, obstetrics and gynecology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, stated that it’s due, in part, to education specifically designed to work with teenagers.

“We talk more about teen pregnancy, the responsibility of having a child and how difficult it is to be a teen mom. We also talk about contraception and abstinence more. “Adults have to remember we’re fighting the adolescent sex drive that developed as a matter of survival of the species. It’s important to remember the three I’s when you’re working with teens. They think they’re immortal, invincible and infertile. We have to convince them otherwise and dispel the myths, and the message needs repetition.”

This good news comes on the coattails of New York City releasing data that shows its teen pregnancy rate has also dropped. Deborah Kaplan, assistant commissioner of the New York City Department of Health’s Bureau of Maternal, Infant and Reproductive Health, said:

“We’re seeing that there are two things happening: teens are both delaying sex, and those that are having sex are more likely to use contraceptives. Our efforts to make sex education and birth control more widely available in public high schools are working.”

What needs to be taken away from these results is that they’re just that: results. They are the evidence pointing towards women, including and especially the younger ones, needing solid sex education, healthcare and accessibility to birth control.

Photo: nateOne / Flickr