This morning, CNN, Fox News and Bloomberg News are all reporting that teen pregnancy is on the rise after a 15 year decline. The CDC statistics they used sounded awfully familiar, so I hopped into the Jezebel wayback machine and discovered that the "new" teen pregnancy statistics they're bemoaning were actually released in November, 2007, and merely re-released last week as part of a larger report called "America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being 2008." That report has all sorts of other information about teenagers — how much they're smoking, how frequently they're injured — and yet, CNN, Fox and Bloomberg all decided to go with the teen pregnancy statistics as their headlines and initial paragraphs.
Though in the CDC report from November, government statistician Stephanie Ventura said, "It's way too early to know if this is the start of a new trend…But given the long-term progress we've witnessed, this change is notable," Fox News found a fear mongering doctor to make far more definitive statements about the slight upswing. Said Dr. Keith Ablow: "It's not pretty and we really need a public health response that's very vigorous to counteract this."
While the rise in teen pregnancy after a 14 year drop is certainly something to monitor, using nine-month old statistics to drum up hysteria is disingenuous. Or you know, you could just follow Fox News and start panicking immediately. Break out those chastity belts moms of America!
Report: Teen Pregnancies Up For First Time In 15 Years [CNN]
Teen Pregnancy Rate Hits 15-Year High [Fox News]
Teenage Mothers Rose In 2006, Reversing A 15-Year U.S. Decline [Bloomberg]
Teen Birth Rate Rises For First Time In 14 Years [CDC]