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Focused Efforts Contribute to the Decline of Teenage Pregnancy Each year in the United States approximately 40 percent of all girls become pregnant before the age of 20 Statistics no date par 6 According to Family Planning Perspectives this percentage is equivalent to around one million teenage pregnancies per year as cited in Statistics no date par 1 The Alan Guttmacher Institute says that of these one million pregnancies 82 percent are unintended Studies also indicate that women over the age of 40 are as likely as teens to say their pregnancies were unintended as cited in Frequently Asked no date par 2 However there is some good news that is associated with these numbers Teen pregnancy rates among girls in the US have begun declining throughout the 1990s but they still remain the highest among developing countries Statistics no date par 3 This news indicates that teen pregnancy prevention programs need to continue their efforts to maintain the decline in pregnancy rates The prime time to focus on pregnancy prevention programs is during the most critical time in an adolescents life the middle school or junior high years This is a very fragile time for them because they have uncertainty about themselves they are experiencing puberty they are extra sensitive and worried about their changing physical appearance fear of displeasing others and other psychological distress They are also faced with difficult choices with respect to sexual activities McBride 2000 par 6 Opponents to pregnancy prevention programs say that the programs have an adverse effect and encourage sexual activity but statistics show that most Americans do not feel that way In an in-depth analysis conducted in 1999 the results found that 93 percent of Americans support sex education in high schools and 84 percent support sex education in middle schools Eight out of ten do not feel that sex education encourages sexual activity and 89 percent think that kids should have information about contraception STDs
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