Either Cleveland teens are having less sex, having more unorthodox sex, having more protected sex, or have downed Plan B in record numbers.
A report released last month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that nationally, teen pregnancy is at its lowest rate in history, and Northeast Ohio is seeing a similar trend. Since 2003, for every one thousand teen girls in Cleveland, the birth rate to those ages 15-19 has decreased from 80 to 65.
Experts partially attribute the decline to youth experiencing the financial struggles of their families during the recession. But Karen Butler, Cleveland’s Public Health Commissioner, says it’s difficult to draw absolute conclusions. While the economy may play a role, a bigger factor, she believes, is the amount of information now available to teens about the consequences of pregnancy.
Butler: “It’s really increasing awareness, making contraceptives and other services more accessible and available to teens. I think it’s really, too, an increased awareness on a more global level.”
Also likely to be a factor: MTV's scare-you-into-not-letting-boys-near-your-bathing-suit-area program 16 and Pregnant.