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The teen pregnancy rate has dropped 25% in recent years. Here's why.

A massive change happened for a really obvious reason.

The teen pregnancy rate has dropped 25% in recent years. Here's why.

Here's some good news: The U.S. teen pregnancy rate has been on a steady decline since 2007. And the reason why shouldn't come as much of a surprise.

A new study by the Guttmacher Institute shows that from 2007 to 2011, teen pregnancy rates dropped by a whopping 25% across the U.S. The study, which surveyed women ages 15 to 19, found that while respondents' sexual activity rates didn't change, one very important thing did: contraception use.

Image by Guttmacher Institute.


“Our new data suggest that recent declines in teens’ risk of pregnancy — and in their pregnancy rates — are driven by increased contraceptive use," concludes study author Dr. Laura Lindberg.

In 2015, Colorado released its own data showing that a state program providing free long-term contraception led to a 40% drop in its teen pregnancy rate.

After all, that's pretty much the whole purpose of contraception: to reduce the chance of getting pregnant. It turns out that when contraception is more affordable and easier to get, people are more likely to use it. Even better, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, most forms of birth control are now available without an insurance co-pay.

GIF from "The Daily Show."

The undeniable truth is this: Abstinence-only education doesn't work.

Proponents of abstinence-only education argue that the only true way to eliminate the unintended teen pregnancy rate is for teens not to have sex. And they're right — in the same way that the only way to eliminate fatal car accidents is to not drive. Knowing this, we still teach teens how to drive cars, just as we should teach them the basics about safe sex.

GIF from "Mean Girls."

But what does abstinence-only education have to do with this? A government study found that students who received abstinence-only sex education were more likely to not use (or to incorrectly use) contraceptives, were more likely to end up with unintended pregnancies, and were more likely to contract sexually transmitted infections.

As of September 2016, just 18 states and the District of Columbia require sex-ed courses to include information on contraception. There's a lot of room to improve.

Earlier this year, President Obama proposed eliminating federal funding for abstinence-only education programs for the 2017 annual budget. Over the past 25 years, the federal government has spent close to $2 billion on abstinence-only programs despite the fact that there's no science backing up their effectiveness. Obama's push to cut off the last $10 million a year going to these programs coincided with his allocation of $4 million to the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program.

President Obama and then-Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius discuss contraceptive coverage for workers in 2012. Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images.

Whether state legislatures will take action to require schools to teach comprehensive sex education in high school classrooms remains to be seen, but the mountain of evidence highlighting those programs' successes continues to grow.

Want to see that teen pregnancy rate continue to decline? Then write your representatives and senators on the state and national levels. Let them know this is important to you.

Improved access to knowledge and resources to prevent unwanted pregnancies is a position we should all be able to get behind.

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Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

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Who would have thought that giving the world access to all human knowledge via the internet, the ability to follow and hear from experts on any subject via social media, and the ability to see what's happening anywhere in the world via smartphones with cameras would result in a terrifying percentage of the population believing and spouting nothing but falsehoods day in and day out?

Those of us who value facts, reason, and rational thought have found ourselves at some of our fellow citizens and thinking, "Really? THIS is how you choose to use the greatest tool humanity has ever created? To spew unfounded conspiracy theories?"

It's a marvel, truly.

Between Coronavirus/Bill Gates/5G conspiracies and QAnon/Evil Cabal/Pedophile conspiracies, I thought we were pretty much full up on kooky for 2020. But apparently not. The massive fires up and down the West Coast have ignited even more conspiracy theories, some of which local law enforcement and even the FBI have had to debunk.

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In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

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Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

via Philanthropy Daily

On September 14, Charles "Chuck" Feeney signed the paperwork to shut down Atlantic Philanthropies. The ceremony was attended via Zoom by the philanthropies' board which included former California Governor Jerry Brown, Bill Gates, and Nancy Pelosi.

While most would think the shuttering of a philanthropic endeavor would be a sad event, it was just how Feeney planned. It marked the competition of four-decade mission to give away almost every penny of his $8 billion fortune.

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Katie Neeves (L) photo by Jayne Walsh, JK Rowling (R) photo by Sjhill, CC BY-SA 3.0

Dear JK Rowling,

I am writing this letter to say a big thank you to you. You may think it strange that a gobby trans woman such as me would wish to thank you after all your recent transphobic outpourings, but let me explain…

I certainly don't thank you for your lengthy essay last month where you describe the abuse you have suffered (for which you have my sympathy) and in which you stated that you do not hate trans people, while at the same time peddling even more anti-trans mis-information. Sadly, your diatribe directly caused some trans children to self-harm and other to attempt suicide.

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