The pregnancy rate among teenage girls in the United States has jumped for the first time in more than a decade, raising alarm that the long campaign to reduce motherhood among adolescents is faltering, according to a report released Tuesday.
The pregnancy rate among 15-to-19-year-olds increased 3 percent between 2005 and 2006 — the first jump since 1990, according to an analysis of the most recent data collected by the federal government and the nation’s leading reproductive-health think tank.
Teen pregnancy has long been one of the most pressing social issues and has triggered intense political debate over sex education, particularly whether the federal government should fund programs that encourage abstinence until marriage or focus on birth control.
“The decline in teen pregnancy has stopped — and in fact has turned around,” said Lawrence Finer, director of domestic research for the Guttmacher Institute, the nonprofit, nonpartisan research group in New York that conducted the analysis. “These data are certainly cause for concern.”