A Matter of Agency
The birth rate for teenagers 15 and older rose 3% in 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported (www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr57/nvsr57_07.pdf). This first increase in the number of births to U.S. teenagers since 1991 may be partly due to abstinence-only sex education, which doesn't change teens' behavior, says Jill Janke, a professor of nursing at the University of Alaska Anchorage and a board member of the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses. Janke also speculates that the 15-year decline in teen pregnancies may have led to a complacency in pushing the message to that age group. What does work, she adds, is education that combines abstinence and contraception, stressing a "caring relationship before intimacy."