Teen pregnancies are down worldwide but the United States has by far the highest rate of any industrialized nation, according to a report from the Alan Guttmacher Institute.
The report, “Risk and Realities of Early Childbearing Worldwide,” is to be released today, the day Congress is to consider a proposal by President Clinton to provide more money for family planning programs overseas.
The eight-page report found a strong correlation between improving educational opportunities for girls and a decline in teen pregnancies in developing countries compared to their mothers’ generation.
Far fewer girls are becoming mothers before turning 20, especially in Asia, North Africa, the Middle East and parts of Latin America, it said.
However, in sub-Saharan Africa, at least one girl in two has a child during adolescence, and in other parts of Latin America, one-third of teens do.
“We see encouraging signs that young women are more likely to delay childbearing,” said Jeannie Rosoff, president of the Guttmacher Institute. “Although this progress is uneven, much change has taken place within a short time period, indicating enormous potential for swifter change if more is done to support adolescents in their life-altering decisions.”
The Guttmacher Institute is a not-for-profit organization for reproductive health research, policy analysis and education with offices in New York and Washington.
President Clinton wants Congress to advance by four months the United States’ monthly installments for spending $385 million to distribute condoms, IUDs and birth-control pills worldwide.
Population Research Institute, a conservative group, has urged Congress to block Clinton’s push. Earmarking funds for family planning programs in developing countries has promoted abortions and coerced women into using contraceptives, Steven Mosher, president of the group, said this week.
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