If you guessed abstinence-only education, not only are you wrong, but your consolation prize is a mild STI!

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The New York Times points to analysis by the Guttmacher Institute, newly published in the New England Journal of Medicine. According to their numbers, rates of unintended pregnancy have dropped essentially across the board, and the overall rate hit its lowest point in 30 years: “The level in 2008 was 54 per 1,000 women and girls aged 15 to 44. By 2011, it was 45 per 1,000. Of the 6.1 million pregnancies in 2011, 2.8 million were unintended.”

That’s an 18 percent drop, says NBC News, and it brings the share of pregnancies that are accidental to less than half. Among teens specifically, there was a 28 percent drop.

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Is everybody just saying no? As if:

“We hypothesize that changes in contraceptive use are driving the decline,” said the lead author of the report, Lawrence B. Finer, the director of domestic research at the Guttmacher Institute.

“The biggest change is women using some form of contraception, and a substantial shift toward the use of long-acting methods” like intrauterine devices and contraceptive patches.

And via NBC News, the report was accompanied by this policy analysis:

“The abortion decline between 2008 and 2011 was driven by a steep drop in unintended pregnancy, which in turn is most plausibly explained by more and better contraceptive use,” [Joerg] Dreweke wrote.

“These findings have major implications for the U.S. abortion debate as, among other things, they validate that supporting and expanding women’s access to contraceptive services leads to a lower incidence of abortion,” he added.

But sure, let’s keep dumping money into other bullshit and attacking a national organization dedicated to getting women birth control. Sounds great.


Contact the author at kelly@jezebel.com.

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