Media Release 16 May 2017
Family First NZ is welcoming the latest statistics showing that the teenage fertility rate has halved since 2008. In 2016, the rate was 16 births per 1,000 women aged 15–19 years – half the 2008 rate of 33. And well down from the peak of 69 per 1,000 in 1972.
“This is good news for all families. The ‘postpone sexual involvement’ and ‘abstain’ messages are getting through and are working. Less teenage pregnancies reduce the likelihood of a young teenage mum, the possibility of an abortion, and the potential for being sneaked off for an abortion without the parents being informed,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“There is also evidence that the drop is because more and more teenagers are delaying sex. According to the Youth 2012 survey undertaken by Auckland University, the proportion of students who reported ever having had sex was similar in 2001 and 2007 (approximately a third) but was lower in 2012 – down to 24%. And less than 19% said they were currently sexually active.”
“Groups like Family Planning will argue that it is because of contraception and the morning-after pill that the teen pregnancy rate has dropped but the evidence refutes that claim. The Youth Survey showed that contraception use had not improved over the last 10 years, and in fact sexually active teens are being riskier with a 7% decrease in the use of condoms between 2007 and 2012. And a US study found increased access to emergency contraception increases the rates of sexually transmitted diseases, risk taking and a false sense of security, while doing nothing to reduce the number of abortions. A study in the Journal of Health Economics in January 2011, conducted in the United Kingdom, found that widespread access to emergency contraception did nothing to reduce pregnancy but increased STD rates by 12%,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“We believe the rate will continue to drop as knowledge of the prenatal development of the unborn child increases, resulting in an increasingly pro-life younger generation. The ‘bunch of cells’ argument which has driven the pregnancy-doesn’t-matter right-to-abortion argument is now just ‘flat-earth science’.”
“It is education and delay, not condoms, that is resulting in our pleasing lower teen fertility rates. This is the message that needs to be promoted, rather than the flawed ‘you have to have it so be safe’ message.”