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(LifeSiteNews) —The New York Times published an interesting report on the declining rate of teen pregnancy in the United States titled “Their Mothers Were Teenagers. They Didn’t Want That for Themselves.” It contains some good news. The report notes that the number of high school students who say they have had sex has dropped by 29% — and that this is largely due to teens deciding to delay intercourse. While there are multiple factors at play — including, University of Virginia sociologist Brad Wilcox noted, an increasing amount of time spent in front of screens — abortion is not one of them:

Abortion does not appear to have driven the decline in teen births. As a share of teenage pregnancy, it has remained steady over the past decade, although the data, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, omits medication abortions, and analysts say the recent Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion, could cause teen births to rise. If adolescent girls are more cautious with sex and birth control, what explains the caution? A common answer is that more feel they have something to lose. “There is just a greater confidence among young women that they have educational and professional opportunities,” Mr. Wilcox said.

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Pro-life statistician Dr. Michael New noted that the report was “surprisingly fair-minded,” especially as it noted that “starting in the late 1980s or early 1990s, there has been a durable reduction in the percentage of teenagers who are sexually active.”

“Data from the National Survey of Family Growth show that, between 1988 and 2015, the percentage of teenage boys (ages 15-19) who had ever had sexual intercourse fell from 60 percent to 38 percent,” he told me. “During the same time period, the percentage of teenage girls (age 15-19) who had ever had sexual intercourse fell from 51 percent to 42 percent. Data from the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) show that between 1991 and 2017, the percentage of high-school students who had ever had sexual intercourse declined from 54.1 percent to 38.4 percent.”

“Overall, a smaller percentage of teenagers are sexually active and those that are sexually active appear to be using contraception more often,” New concluded. “It is not clear why this is the case. As The New York Times article suggests, there may be more economic opportunities for teenagers that increase the opportunity cost of a pregnancy. Social media platforms might make teenagers more risk averse — however, the teen pregnancy declines started before social media became popular. Teenagers might be having less sex because of online pornography — however, the teen pregnancy declines started before internet browsers became popular. It is probably a combination of factors.”

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What we do know is that this is, on the whole, good news — especially due to the fact that the trend predates the ubiquity of teen porn addiction and other genuinely damaging trends. Fewer unwanted pregnancies mean fewer unwanted babies — which means fewer abortions. Children spared from an excruciating death and young parents spared from post-abortion guilt and trauma is a net positive. It is undoubtedly true that porn addiction is impacting real relationships, and that the net effect of a generation rewiring their minds to respond to digital sexual toxins are just beginning to become clear — we are facing the highest rates of erectile dysfunction in males under age 30 in recorded history.

But what these trend lines do emphasize is that it is possible to change widespread practices. That, in the current cultural climate, is very encouraging.

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Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.