Twenty Years of Progress in Teen Pregnancy Prevention

On January 16, 2014, the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (SC Campaign) held a press conference in the lobby of the State House to announce progress made over the last 20 years.  The campaign shared statistics from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control showing that the state has seen a 47% decline in the teen birth rate from 1992 to 2012.  Between 2011 and 2012, a 7% decline in the teen birth rate was achieved yielding a figure of 36.5 births per 1,000 girls age 15-19.  Experts attribute the success to teens making responsible decisions, a shift in social norms around teen pregnancy, an increase in the attention and education given to the most effective forms of birth control as long-acting reversible contraception and a greater emphasis on best practices.  SC Campaign CEO Forrest Alton says we should not confuse progress with victory.  South Carolina celebrates the progress it has made, but still ranks 11th highest in the US for teen births – in a country that has the highest teen birth rate of any industrialized nation.

“This year, we are celebrating 20 years at the SC Campaign, and while there has been significant progress over the last two decades, we are focused on the future and confident that further declines can be achieved,” said Alton.  “Moving forward our efforts will focus on both broad dissemination of evidence based programs as well as more intensive targeting of youth and communities that research shows are at highest risk.”

Encouraged by the new data, Dr. Marion Burton, Medical Director for the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services says, “I am impressed with the progress being made on addressing this pressing public health challenge in South Carolina.  The South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy’s effort to reduce teen pregnancy positively impacts the health of mothers and babies in South Carolina, making them a valuable partner in the state’s Birth Outcomes Initiative.  These measured improvements validate the importance of public health programs and show this group’s efforts are producing significant results which will positively impact our future teen birth rates in South Carolina.”

On January 23, 2014, the SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy will host a webinar to about teen pregnancy data on a county level and how communities can utilize the resources.  Click here to learn more about the webinar.

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