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PUBLIC HEALTH & EDUCATION | Teen Pregnancy Rate in South Carolina Increasing, State Health Department Reports

PUBLIC HEALTH & EDUCATION | Teen Pregnancy Rate in South Carolina Increasing, State Health Department Reports
[Sept. 18, 2008]

The teen pregnancy rate in South Carolina increased from 2004 to 2006 after declining for the previous decade, according to new data from the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, the AP/Columbia State reports.

More than 10,000 female South Carolinians ages 10 to 19 were pregnant in 2006, about 25% for the second time. After a 25% decline in the teen pregnancy rate from 1994 to 2004, the rate increased from 33 pregnancies per 1,000 female teens in 2004 to 36 pregnancies per 1,000 female teens in 2006.

The South Carolina Campaign To Prevent Teen Pregnancy called for more "abstinence-first" messages to be enforced by schools and other groups, combined with age-appropriate sex education. The group's executive director, Forrest Alton, said that the conversation must "begin and end" with parents but that "schools and community groups also have a very important role." According to the AP/State, some experts attribute the increase in the national pregnancy rate to increased federal funding for abstinence-only education instead of funding comprehensive sex education programs.

The South Carolina Campaign estimated that teen pregnancies in the state cost taxpayers $156 million in 2004 (Collins, AP/Columbia State, 9/17).