Abortion rates are at their lowest in decades, while the birth rate is up. Way up: In 2007 more babies were born in the U.S. than ever before, topping even the boom of the 50s.
The stats on the 2007 birth rate tell of both good and bad news. Somewhat good: the U.S. population is more than replacing itself. Bad: teen pregnancies are also on the rise, for the second year in a row.
Fertility researcher S. Philip Morgan claims that cultural acceptance of unwed mothers is partially to blame, as is the high profile case of Bristol Palin. "She's the poster child for what you do when you get pregnant now," Morgan said. He believes that Bristol (and the media acceptance of girls like her) may be to blame for both the rise in teen pregnancies and the fall in abortion rates.
Optimists believe that abortions are down because of better contraception, while pessimists believe that more teens are having babies because they don't know how to use birth control. This viewpoint is backed up by studies that show an overall decrease in availability of abortions - it is becoming increasingly true that if a young girl gets pregnant, she stays pregnant ("Just like Bristol," as Morgan might say).
Dr. Carol Hogue has a somewhat similar take on the phenomenon. She suggests that the abnormally high birth rate in 2007 was spurred a relatively good economy coupled with "cultural trends that promoted childbirth." So you mean our cultural obsession with celebrity babies (and all those infuriating baby watch articles and "baby bump" features) are finally taking their toll? Who'da thunk it!