We learned this week that the teen birth rate has never been lower. Though the overall number of newborns has declined, the percentage drop has been highest for the youngest moms. The news has predictably been politicized: social conservatives claim the drop is due to abstinence-only policies, while public health professionals are more likely to credit better contraception methods — and greater willingness of young people to use them. Meanwhile, Anna North argues the economy may be to blame; while Erin Gloria Ryan suggested the real reason might be "good old fashioned fear and shame combined with teens' chronic lack of ambition."
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