While US teen pregnancy rates are falling overall, some states currently have dramatically higher rates than others, according to a new CDC study—and they just happen to be states emphasizing abstinence-only sex education. In New England, for example, 2008 birth rates stood at less than 25 per 1,000 teens ages 15 to 19. But in Mississippi, Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, rates run higher than 60 per 1,000 teens.
Planned Parenthood immediately issued a statement noting the “crystal clear” education correlation. The Hill also points to another recent report from a women’s reproductive health group, which found that all five states with the highest teen birth rates require abstinence be stressed in school, while the four with the lowest rates do not. The CDC considers teen pregnancy a public health issue, because babies born to teens are more likely to be born prematurely, and die as infants. (Read more Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stories.)