Big Drop in Teen Pregnancy Rates

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

A pregnancy test which shows a "positive" result i.e. the woman is pregnan (Nabokov/Wikipedia Commons)

Thomas Farley, commissioner of the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, talks about the 27% drop in teen pregnancies in New York City over the last 10 years.



Dr. Thomas Farley

Comments [31]

NickyV from Queens

More praise for NYC sex education and health services: NYC was one of the first cities to offer free or low cost services to women and abortion. According to the book Freakanomics, one of the reasons for NYC leading the nation in crime reduction was the reduction of children being born into broken homes. Though I do believe life begins at conception, I also believe in free will and respect the difficult decision a woman has to make. As a Giuliani fan, I do give him and the police commissioners he hired credit for the fine work they did, but when you have fewer children being born into desperate circumstances the fewer desperate individuals who may grow up to commit crimes. So I agree with most of you regarding improving sex education and health services. Maybe the abortion rate will drop even more.

Feb. 06 2013 04:36 PM
Noach (anti-corporate traditionalist) from Brooklyn

@SKV 12:57 a.m.:


Was that a typo, or were you actually calling me a "roach"?

Feb. 06 2013 04:20 PM
davie from New Jersey

If we all met and discussed the same topic 20 years from now the conversation would be identical, somethings we observe in life never change this is one of them.

Feb. 06 2013 03:58 PM

kthmcgv from nyc ~

If you think family support is expensive, do the rudimentary math on what the ENORMOUS cost to a society is when you don't!!

Feb. 06 2013 01:55 PM

kthmcgv from nyc ~

Whatever your priorities are...

Feb. 06 2013 01:52 PM
kthmcgv from nyc

To dboy and all those who think the same...nothing is free!

Feb. 06 2013 01:16 PM

foodaggro, Roach -- no, no, NO. No criminalization of sex, no criminalization of abortion, no criminalization of having babies.

Society needs to support its children, whether just born to a teenager, sexually active, pregnant, whatever, with decent affordable healthcare -- and that includes fertility control.

No amount of prosecution or persecution stops people from having sex.

Feb. 06 2013 12:57 PM
nycsandy from NYC

One reason not mentioned is that NYC housing policies that rewarded having a child with moving to the top of the subsidized housing list have been discontinued. It is nearly impossible for any single woman who is not working to afford rent in any of the boros as well as pay for food, infant supplies etc. Perhaps teens are getting the message that they must graduate from high school to even think about leaving their parents apartment, and doing so while parenting is extremely difficult.

Feb. 06 2013 12:27 PM
Noach (anti-corporate traditionalist) from Brooklyn

Josie fron NYC wrote,
"The number 1 topic should be that the father is not there after that baby is born. The girl's are pretty much on their own - even with supportive families."

Shouldn't we be trying to change this?

Isn't there some way we could be _demanding_ responsibility from the boys who impregnate the girls?

We need to teach boys AND girls how great the responsibility for risking the creation of a life is.

Can a culture that sanctions abortion-on-demand at any time, for any reason, cultivate an ethic and sensibility that holds all life sacred?

Don wrote,
"Many teen pregnancies are caused by older relatives, "

Any actual numbers; statistics?

"Now pedophilia is no longer tolerated."

Not sure what you mean here or what your point is.

Obviously, as this very post of yours attests to, incest and adults preying upon minors is still occurring. (And, tragically, will occurs occur to some extent, no matter how intolerant society tries to be of these crimes.)

@ foodaggro from Brooklyn wrote,
"Maybe it SHOULD be considered a crime, in a way, to have a baby - when that baby will be born into a miserable life of poverty, abuse and neglect."

Maybe it should be considered a crime to HAVE SEX before one is able, ready and willing to provide a loving and stable, two-parent home to any child that could result.

(And, no, I did NOT mean to write "unprotected sex", as all forms of contraception have considerable failure rates.)

Feb. 06 2013 11:55 AM
jack from Queens

Another reply for Luis's on air comment:

think if all of the people living in other countries - including Latin American countries - who wished they had access to birth control and ways to prevent STD's and did not have that access because of want of money or because their government could not or would not provide free condoms and other resources. think of those young people and the children who came into the world as a result and how their lives may have suffered as a result of circumstance. Do you think they wish they had the resources this country has?

The choice to use birth control is a personal one and the city should be congratulated for making it available - not questioned.

And I want to ad this. As I said in my earlier post, I am married to someone from another country and culture and I have worked with a lot of people from other cultures. Over the years, I have heard comments that make me feel as though a lot of what my country has to offer is taken for granted and under appreciated. what you said earlier strikes me the same way: instead of knocking or deriding what we have to offer here, can we instead be grateful that we can and do offer it?

Feb. 06 2013 11:49 AM

Where has teen pregnancy gone? Two words: oral sex. Sex ain't about having kids for today's teens - it's about getting as much pleasure without any strings attached. Babies ain't welcome.

Feb. 06 2013 11:42 AM
NickyV from Queens

Just look at states where they have legislated not having sex-education. Their teen pregnancy rates are up, abortion rates are down due to lack of access and restrictions. At least our pregnant children don't have to take a Fung Wah bus to Canada to get an abortion, not yet. An ounce of prevention goes a long way. When I was a teenager, my liberal NYC board of Ed sex education classes involved black-and-white Army-Government films showing STD's and the consequences of pre-marital sex. My parents hardly ever spoke of sex (Catholic) and a pregnant daughter was an embarassment who got sent back to the old country (yes I'm Hispanic) and sometimes came back by herself. Abortion was not an option and kids often got raised by grandmothers, aunts or some other family member without children. I'll give the liberals praise for one thing: sex education.

Feb. 06 2013 11:27 AM

Well here's some context. But I confess it may take a "math" "wiz" to convert these numbers into the concepts of the instant conversation.

Graph(s) of the day, part II: U.S. birthrate falls to lowest on record

Feb. 06 2013 11:17 AM

What is the pregnancy rate for the "adult" population
over the same time period?

? In what category ("teen" v. "adult") are eighteen and nineteen year old pregnant women counted?

Also it would be interesting to know the rates for abortion?
(and how many abortions were arranged by the City of New York for students, without consulting with their parents?)

Can you spell "h i s t o r i c a l c o n t e x t"?

Feb. 06 2013 10:51 AM
jack from queens

In response to Luis who claims (and may be defending) that having babies at a young age may be a cultural attribute for many people from certain countries, I moved to NYC in the mid 1990's and worked in a job supervising a dept which consisted of people from Latin American countries. Being someone of Anglo Saxon and Eastern European decent, I was horrified at a lot of behavior - including rude, risky, and illegal behavior that many Latinas and Latinos defended as "cultural". My response to Luis is, when people move to new regions, it is up to them to understand that certain behavior may run against the grain or cultural norms of the extant population and that we are no longer living in the days of the Native Americans when newcomers, including some of my ancestors walked onto this continent and displayed total disregard for the extant culture. We have to respect one another and not ram each others culture down each others throats and understand that in my culture one does not have babies until one is responsible enough to care for them - both emotionally and financially - and that as taxpayers - those of us who feel this way and end up footing the bill for social services and government programs for people who cannot take care of their children, it is, as part of our culture and our right to pay for and offer birth control to high school students. if people do not like this cultural attribute of what may be the majority of Americans, they should consider where they live. Please understand that this comment comes from someone who, by virtue of marriage, is a dual national, and made the choice to stay in his own country because he did not like some of the cultural attributes of the country (a strong roman catholic country) where he could be living.

Please do not attempt to turn the use of birth control into a form of genocide or something against a cultural norm; it is about responsibility and personal choice. Please understand that I prior to your comments, I was listening to the debate and questions and was thinking "this is really good. If I don't have a full handle on my son's behavior in a few years, at least I know he and his girlfriend will have resources available without my having to be a helicopter parent."

Let's look at the good that comes with living in this great country and not try to make something bad out of it.

Feb. 06 2013 10:36 AM

In that FRIGHTENING boogieman, COMMIE country to the north of us, abortion is a part of the "socialized" healthcare system - free and easily accessible.

DESPITE this accessibility, women/girls in Canada choose to continue with their pregnancies. Abortion rates are MUCH lower than in the USA™.


Because those "commies" in Canada also have sophisticated, first world family support services. You can have a child, even with disabilities, and NOT worry about going BANKRUPT or giving up your education or career...

Those "scary" "socialists" may have something to teach us!!

Feb. 06 2013 10:31 AM

perhaps GM foods is finally settling in.

Feb. 06 2013 10:28 AM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

Maybe it SHOULD be considered a crime, in a way, to have a baby - when that baby will be born into a miserable life of poverty, abuse and neglect. Even if there is decent family support, there are NO positive aspects to teen pregnancy. Time to wake up and embrace sex ed and expand family planning services.

Feb. 06 2013 10:28 AM
NSNY from Bklyn

This is great news for NYC, and for young women. I wouldn't be surprised if pressure was a main cause in the first place. I think it's helpful to have this information in front of young men as well. Having it come from other sources helps young women feel confident in standing-up for themselves and at the same time, they are not alone in saying "no" or insisting on protection which makes it harder for young men to dispute.

One of the callers mentioned the show "16 and Pregnant". I've been told by friends who work in marketing and television that young people were actually wanting to get pregnant because they were confusing "celebrity" and misconstrued the show as a glamorization. I suppose it might be depend on your background and upbringing? But it was disconcerting to hear.

Feb. 06 2013 10:27 AM

Many teen pregnancies are caused by older relatives, not teen boys getting lucky. Now pedophilia is no longer tolerated.

Feb. 06 2013 10:25 AM
Josie from NYC

I'm a little disturbed that Dr. Farley has never seen "Teen Mom" on MTV. He should be watching this show as a learning tool as to what the young mothers go through after they have a baby to use as a teaching tool. The number 1 topic should be that the father is not there after that baby is born. The girl's are pretty much on their own - even with supportive families.

Feb. 06 2013 10:25 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Wow, the NYC Health Commissioner "doesn't really know" why teen pregnancy rates are higher amongst black and hispanics...Part of the problem is autocatalysis; phenomena that feed high teen pregnancy/ incarceration/ etc rates also put the wrong people in charge of trying to solve these problems.

Feb. 06 2013 10:24 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Maybe 1 approach to counter the attitude that having sex is a sign of being grown up could be that being grown up = being mature = being responsible = delaying sex/using contraception. Are the schools teaching that?

Feb. 06 2013 10:24 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Ed, according to your religion - it is, if it's out of wedlock.

Feb. 06 2013 10:23 AM

GEEEZUS!! "Ed" give it a damn break, will'ya??


Feb. 06 2013 10:22 AM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn

There's something so wrong with a world in which preventing teenagers from having babies is thought of as controversial or controlling. This statistic should be applauded, not condemned. I don't care what the color is of anyone's skin, a kid having a baby before they finish their basic education and get a job that can provide a secure living for both parent and child is something that should be avoided.

Feb. 06 2013 10:21 AM

Ed from Larchmont said "No crime in having a baby."
but know this, there is no HELP either, you are on your own and maybe on the poverty path. good luck, that baby'daddy wont be helping either.

Feb. 06 2013 10:19 AM

jg, it's good for our country as well. Not only as an example for other cities, but tin mitigating the permeating effects of poverty on areas external to the metro area.

Feb. 06 2013 10:18 AM
Linda from Jersey Shore

Great news. I am very pro choice and I'm glad we seem to be catching up with European nations.

Feb. 06 2013 10:16 AM
jg from Manhattan

Maybe the methods are controversial, but this will significantly lower poverty rates for two generations, which is a good thing for the city in many, many ways.

Feb. 06 2013 10:13 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Are teenage abortion rates down or up? No crime in having a baby.

Feb. 06 2013 05:51 AM

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