teen pregnancy

Sherry Johnson was 11 years old when she was forced to marry her 20-year-old rapist through a loophole in a Florida law that doesn't set a minimum age for marriage if a girl is pregnant.

Abstaining from sexual activity is a surefire way to prevent pregnancy and avoid sexually transmitted diseases. But programs advocating abstinence often fail to prevent young people from having sex, researchers write in the September issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Such programs, sometimes referred to as "abstinence only until marriage" programs, typically advocate monogamous, heterosexual marriage as the only appropriate context for sexual intercourse and as the only certain way to avoid unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

Florida’s teen birth rates are on a steady decline, according to a national report.

To understand why teen pregnancy rates are so high in Texas, meet Jessica Chester. When Chester was in high school in Garland, she decided to attend the University of Texas at Dallas. She wanted to become a doctor.

"I was top of the class," she says. "I had a GPA of 4.5, a full-tuition scholarship to UTD. I was not the stereotypical girl someone would look at and say, 'Oh, she's going to get pregnant and drop out of school.' "

Garo/Phanie / Science Source

Teen pregnancy is way down.

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Teen pregnancies fell again last year, to another historic low, a government report shows.

The nation's falling teen birth rate saw an even bigger drop over the past decade, with dramatic declines among Hispanic and black teens.

Birth rates are down a whopping 51 percent among Hispanics age 15 to 19 since 2006, and down 44 percent among black teens, according to a survey of census data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Teen pregnancy rates among whites also fell by a third.

A Florida appeals court said the parental-notification law should be waived for a teen who wants an abortion without letting her parents know she is pregnant.