March 23, 2023

COVID-19 NAHIC Resources

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State Policy and Teen Childbearing

In this 2015 review article, authors examined how teen childbearing rates are related to state policy in five areas: education, sex education, public assistance, access to abortion services and access to family planning.

This review of 13 studies identified associations between teen birth rates in the following areas:

In family planning access:

  • adolescent enrollment in clinics,
  • family planning expenditures per female ages 15-44
  • access to contraception for minors without parental involvement
  • Medicaid family planning waivers
  • Provider conscience laws for contraception

In education:

  • expenditures on education (studies examined expenditures per capita, per child and per student)
  • course requirements for high school graduation
  • teacher-to-student ratios

Evidence with regards to the role of abortion access, public assistance and sex education in reducing teen birth rates was shown to be mixed and inconclusive.

The authors consider results from this analysis as tentative, as more research is needed to strengthen our understanding of how state policies influence teen birth rates.