Does sex ed keep girls from becoming teen moms?

Genevra Pittman

In a new study, states with more comprehensive sex education programs had lower teen birth rates — but the effect seemed to be due more to political, religious and social differences between those states than the sex ed itself.

That doesn’t mean sex ed never helps prevent pregnancy, researchers said. But attitudes of family and friends, and whether teens have access to contraception and family planning services, might be just as important to putting a dent in the number of new teen moms.

“Although the teen birth rates and teen pregnancy rates are dropping year after year… we still have disparities between states, and we have higher teen birth and teen pregnancy rates when we’re compared to other industrialized countries,” said Patricia Cavazos-Rehg, from Washington University in St. Louis, who worked on the study.

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