Indiana lags in teen pregnancy decline


The teen pregnancy rate is down in Indiana, but it still lags behind the average for the rest of the country.

According to data presented by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, Indiana's teen birth rate is down 45 percent from the year 1991.

But the country on the whole saw a decline of 52 percent, which means Indiana still has more pregnant teens than 31 other states.

"There's more of an acceptance for what's happened now," said Nancy Schipper, house mother at Hannah's House, a Mishawaka refuge for pregnant women. "I think our society is ready to applaud them for keeping their baby."

On the whole, the news is good. In 2010 Indiana had 12,240 teen births. Just two years later, the number was 7,370.

Increased education and greater access to contraception have been noted as possible reasons.

"Clearly, progress can and has been made on a pressing social problem that many once considered intractable and inevitable," said Sarah Brown, CEO of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, when the results were released. "The credit for this good news goes to teens themselves."

Schipper says there are also more resources for young women today than there were in the early 90s.

"You haven't grown up you haven't had your life you haven't had much responsibility and on top of that you have responsibility for a child," she said. "That's why we're here, we're trying to give them life skills so they can be the best moms they can be."

The economic hardship, Schipper says, is one of the greatest deterrents.

"I've heard statistics like 12 thousand dollars for a baby in your first year," she said. "Twelve thousand? They don't even have 50 dollars."

In the year 2010, $227 million of Indiana's tax dollars went to teen childbearing, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.


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