Report: Teen Birthrate Rose in 2006
First such rise since 1991
The report is troubling to local Planned Parenthood officials who argue the best way to ensure the uptick is an aberration and not a trend lies in solid reproductive-health education – which they say has been crippled by a decade of spending on abstinence-only education programs. More than $1 billion has been spent for abstinence-only education since 1997, even though studies have shown the programs have minimal, if any, effect on lowering the rates of teen pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases. The rise in teen births "shows that the current agenda of requiring dangerous, ineffective abstinence-only programs isn't working," Ken Lambrecht, executive director of Planned Parenthood of the Texas Capital Region, said in a press release. "We need education programs in our schools that will keep teens healthy – by including information about abstinence as well as contraception, healthy communication, responsible decision-making, and prevention of sexually transmitted infections."
Also of note, the CDC's new report reveals the total number of U.S. births increased by 3% in 2006, with slightly less than 4.3 million babies born. Additionally, the CDC notes the increase in birthrates for all women aged 15-44 means the "total fertility rate" – an estimate of the average number of births that women have over their lifetimes – increased 2%, yielding the highest birthrate recorded since 1971; it's the first time since then that the birthrate was above the "replacement" mark – the "level at which a given generation can replace itself."