The teen pregnancy rate spiked 3% between 2005 and 2006, its first increase since 1990, according to new federal data released today. “The decline in teen pregnancy has stopped—and in fact turned around,” said the director of the nonpartisan research group that conducted the survey. “These data are certainly cause for concern.” The abortion rate also rose for the first time in a decade, inching up 1%.
The cause of the increase has sparked debate, with many experts pinning the blame on abstinence-only sex education. Government funding for such programs more than doubled during the Bush administration, to $176 million. Others say a variety of factors could be at play, including increased poverty, an influx of Hispanics, or complacency about AIDS. “It could be a lot of things coming together,” one professor tells the Washington Post. “It could be we just bottomed out.”