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Teen Pregnancy Rates Hit Record Lows In California Thanks To Educations And Access To Birth Control

Teen pregnancy in California has decreased dramatically due to education and access to birth control.

Diana Shalabi was 15 years old when she lied to her father and asked him for money. She told her father that she was going to be using the money for a High School football game but she actually needed money to buy a pregnancy test. She had taken multiple pregnancy tests that all said the same thing, she was 15, and pregnant. Shalabi could not comprehend the news and she kept on telling herself that it wasn't happening. She admitted that she cried every single day. Shalabi is now 19 years old. She is a single mother. She was married to her daughter's father for less than a year and now she is the sole provider for her and Amina. She now lives with Amina, in Kern Country.

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Kern Country is still one of the highest teen pregnancy rates even though California is decreasing in teen pregnancy rates. A study was conducted in California in 2017 and it showed nearly 14 births per 1,000 females ages 15 to 19. That rate is the 16th lowest teen birth rate in the nation, and below the national average of nearly 19 births per 1,000 females in that age range. Arkansas ranks highest with 33; Massachusetts lowest with 8.  But within California, there are wide variations. Affluent Marin County has the lowest rate with just over 6 births, while Imperial County is highest, with an Arkansas-like level of just over 33. Kern County, with nearly 32, ranks third-highest and is nearly double the state average. Throughout California, teen pregnancy rates have decreased dramatically.

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Experts believe that the reason for the drop is due to the comprehensive sex education and guarantees of confidential access to birth control.  California law allows anyone under 18 to seek birth control services or the morning-after pill on their own. Minors 12 and older can seek treatment for sexually transmitted diseases without parental consent. And as a result of a California Supreme Court ruling, they can get an abortion without parental consent or notification. Many people have also thought that shows such as Teen Mom were glamorizing teen pregnancy and encouraging girls to become pregnant for fame. However, according to studies, the opposite seems to be happening. Young girls are being more vigilant about birth control and avoiding pregnancy due to the true confessions and struggles of the young girls who were teen parents. 

You may also suspect that there are fewer teenage mothers because they are just getting abortions for their unwanted pregnancies. However, that just isn't the case. California abortions have decreased as well. California abortion rate of just over 16 abortions per every 1,000 women of reproductive age. (There isn’t solid data on teen abortion rates). The state’s overall abortion rate is somewhat higher than the national rate of nearly 14 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 — but since 2014, the state abortion rate has declined twice as much as the 8% decline nationwide.

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