Thanks, Plan B! NYC Teen Pregnancy Rate Plummets

Hooray! The teen pregnancy rate in New York City has dropped by 27 percent over the last decade, thanks to teens’ expanded access to contraception.

According to the city Health Department, the number of teens having sex has decreased, while the proportion using birth control has gone up.

The city has worked to make it easier for kids to get birth control — giving out condoms at schools and making birth control and Plan B available in some school clinics, a sometimes controversial move. But despite right-wing fervor over Plan B, it is an extremely safe medication that does not actually induce abortion.

More importantly, it is irresponsible to believe that high school freshmen don’t need access to contraception and sexual education.


City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said she thinks the pilot program will help fight against teen pregnancy.

“High school students are very sexually active and getting pregnant so we don’t have that luxury to think that they are too young to be engaged in conversations about contraception and sexual education,” Quinn told WCBS 880.

Indeed, the majority of parents whose children are enrolled in New York City’s public schools support the city’s initiative to expand access to this type of contraception.

It was last fall that the New York City Department of Education began implementing a pilot program in 13 schools across the city, which involved students as young as 14 at those schools getting access to Plan B emergency contraception. The program targets selected schools in poorer districts without health care centers and, if successful, the city plans to implement it citywide.

This was part of a wider effort to lower the rate of teen pregnancy, as some 7,000 New York residents under the age of 17 get pregnant each year.

Of course, this would not be so much of an issue if the Obama administration had not changed its mind and decided to require women under the age of 17 to obtain a prescription for Plan B, a move that could prevent adolescents from accessing the contraception they need in a timely manner.

New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley believes the numbers show that the strategy is working, and that teens are getting the message that sex can be risky. He refutes the allegation that making contraception more available to teens makes them more sexually active.

That argument of course makes no sense. Teens are going to be sexually active, and it’s a sign of maturity if they make the decision to use contraception.

But it is still not quite time to celebrate. Even though the teen pregnancy rate has fallen dramatically in New York City, it is still higher there than it is nationwide. It’s also true that there are big differences by race and neighborhood.

From ThinkProgress:

The Bronx has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the country, and African-American teens in New York City have a much higher pregnancy rate than their white counterparts — 110.7 births for every 1,000 back girls, compared with 16 births for every 1,000 white girls. That trend is evident on a national level, too. Black and Latina women have the highest rates of unplanned pregnancy and, subsequently, the highest rates of abortion.

Being aware of the connection between poverty and teen pregnancy is the first step, so New York City’s courageous program is taking the city’s teens in the right direction.

Kudos to the city for making this particularly progressive decision.


Related Care2 Coverage

NYC Schools Offer Plan B To Students

Boy, My Uterus Is Getting Crowded!

Doctors Urge Making Emergency Contraception More Available To Teens


Photo Credit: bean rgb


Tammy Baxter
Tammy B4 years ago

while i don't necessarily believe in Plan B which is birth control after the fact, I'm happy to hear that more teens are being responsible for their sexual health

Heather G.
Heather G4 years ago

Rana A, but they do. And preaching that they just shouldn't doesn't do a single thing to help them protect themselves.

rana azzam4 years ago

I believe teenagers should not have sex in the first place.This is something for mature people who realize what they are doing and not only following their instinct

D D.
De D5 years ago

This is a step in the right direction for a change.

stacey t.
Stacey Toda5 years ago

See if Republicans were smart this is what they would promote. Better access to birth control = less abortions.

alison bluett
alison b5 years ago

All contraception and sterilisation should be free for all whether rich or poor. Just cos you're well off doesn't mean you are better educated. My neice's friend who came from a family that had it all learnt the hard way and has just had an abortion.

Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla5 years ago

Great news, thanks

Sonya Armenia Redfield

Great news

Sheri D.
Sheri D5 years ago

Birth control is better than unwanted pregnancies.

Leia P.
Leia P.5 years ago

bravo new york