Morning Roundup: Teen Birth Rate Drops; Abortion Special on MTV

MTV will air a special on teens who choose abortion, the teen birth rate drops and everyone scrambles to claim credit or blame the economy, a fabulous new app for the sexually active, and buy a dress, help prevent child marriage.

  • No Easy Decision, a special on teenagers who choose abortion, will air on MTV on December 28. The channel also airs the popular programs 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom. According to Entertainment Weekly, “MTV sources say the documentary will tackle all sides of the issue, including the importance of contraception and the devastating effects of facing such a decision.”
  • The teen birth rate dropped 6% in 2009 from the year before, to the lowest rate in the seventy years the government has been collecting data. What is the cause of the drop? Well, of course, it depends on who you talk to.  Could it be the recession? Increased contraception use? How about abstinence? Maybe MTV’s 16 and Pregnant? Probably not Bristol Palin.
  • A Texas rabbi has created an iPhone and iPad app on sexuality education. Available for 99 cents through iTunes, LoveSmarts “provides concise information about sexually transmitted infections and their symptoms, method of treatment and prevention; nine forms of contraception, cost, availability and effectiveness; a link with the Princeton University’s emergency contraception directory by zip code and a game that has a variety of viruses and bacterial infections that a player must kill with the correct “weapon” (antibiotics by injection or pills or topical creams or pills).” It sounds like this should be a mandatory app for any sexually active person.
  • Congress failed to pass the bill to prevent child marriage. (See Jodi’s piece on the subject.) But if you are searching for a last minute gift, the One-Dress Project is selling dresses that promise to flatter all women – with proceeds to benefit CARE’s Prevent Child Marriage initiative as part of its We Are One holiday campaign. The One-Dress Project collaborated with women around the world to design a dress, and its purpose “is to raise awareness and funds on behalf of organizations around the world that enhance and protect women’s health, reduce violence against women, educate young girls, and support women to play an active role in society.”

Dec 22

Dec 21

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  • brady-swenson

    Check out this very cool project started to support the three brave young women who shared their choice to have an abortion with the world: Head over there and share your support.

  • beenthere72

    Mazel to Rabbi Amy Weiss!


    Is ‘teen birth rate’ – the rate of teens who get pregnant that actually birth their babies?  Guess I’m confused about ‘birth rate’ versus ‘pregnancy rate’.    I had read an article on the new data yesterday and wondered if they deliberately left out ‘abortion rate’.   Forgive me if I’m being dumb…



  • beth-saunders

    The data that came out yesterday is on live births. I read that Guttmacher’s abortion data won’t come out until further into 2011. The data that come out yesterday didn’t track abortion or pregnancy rates, just live births.

  • beenthere72

    Thank you!  So really, without the rest of the data, nobody can claim any sort of ‘victory’ for the lower numbers (not that we’d be victorious with higher abortion rates – but if they’re also lower, we’d be victorious with better use of/access to birth control – which I hope is the case). 

  • crowepps

    Haven’t analyzed the figures, but a ‘birth rate’ seems to me pretty obviously to count BIRTHS since that qualifier is right there in the title.  It might even track LIVE births and exclude stillbirths.  Keep in mind that pregnancies can end FOUR ways, live birth, stillbirth, spontaneous abortion and elective abortion (medically necessary and not medically necessary).

  • beenthere72

    I realize it should be obvious, but then I also expected birth rates to be accompanied by other such studies of rates associated with pregnancy in general so I just wanted it clarified.   I’m not familiar with the way these studies are compiled and released.    Never hurts to ask, eh?

  • crowepps

    Since all births are reported to the State, the crude birth rate is easy to determine.  You just access each state’s computer and there it is: “X number of girls/women known to be X ages gave birth to X live children.”  Of course, this doesn’t count the rare few who give birth at home and refuse to fill out birth certificates.


    Finding accurate numbers for non-births is a great deal harder.  You can’t just get ‘number of positive pregnancy tests’, subtract ‘live births’ and then leap to the conclusion that the difference is all elective abortions.  Between 15 and 20% of pregnancies end spontaneously, and in most states, particularly in very early pregnancy, there’s no requirement those be reported because they are considered a natural part of the process.


    It is routine for miscarriages to be followed by D&C or suction abortions to make sure the miscarriage was ‘complete’ and guard against infection.    Someone sorts out which abortions are followup to miscarriages and which are medically necessary but I have no idea exactly how precisely accuracy can be maintained in sorting them all out or how anyone knows whether the doctor reporting the reason for the procedure is telling the truth.