Roughly one in four teen girls become pregnant at least once by age 20 and fully half of all pregnancies in the United States are reported by women themselves as unplanned. Not too good.

By posting some intemperate thoughts about sex, love, relationships, pregnancy, childbearing, the media, public policy, our dogs, and other topics, we hope to spark a two-way discussion about how best to bring down the high rates of teen and unplanned pregnancy in this country. And who knows…from time to time, we might even offer up a few cogent thoughts that will be helpful.

Latest Post

Teen Pregnancy, Teens
May 22, 2017

Last week, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) released remarkable news—preliminary data indicated that the teen birth rate for 2016 dropped by a whopping 9%. Coupled with the declines in 2015 (8%) and 2014 (another 9%), it is clear that we are now in the realm of the impossible—significant progress in reducing unplanned pregnancies among our teenage population. This issue, once considered intractable, now is not only seeing movement, but remarkable progress.

Importantly, the teen birth rate for older and younger teens also fell (by 8% and 11% respectively along with women in the younger and older twenties (4% and 2% respectively). 

For us, this news really hits home. Founded in 1996, 21 years ago, The National Campaign set out to reduce the teen pregnnacy rate by one-third—something considered if not impossible, then certainly impractical. We are proud and honored to report that we have reached and surpassed that objective, however, progress is not victory. The U.S. still has the highest teen pregnancy birthrate in the industrialized world. So as we look forward to our next 20 years, we have set three equally ambitious goals:

  1. Reduce teen pregnancy rates by 50% by 2026.
  2. Reduce unplanned pregnancy rates among women age 18-29 by 25% by 2026.
  3. Reduce racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in teen and unplanned pregnancy rates by 50% by 2026.

Again, many will suggest that these goals are not only unlikely, but unrealistic. Instead, we suggest that audacious goals and big bets are the only way to effectively address critical social issues like teen and unplanned pregnancy.

Rates among non-Hispanic black and Hispanic teens remain more than twice as high as they are among non-Hispanic white teens. Unplanned pregnancy continues to be a challenge for young women. More than two thirds of all pregnancies among unmarried women between 20 and 29 years old are reported by the women themselves to be unplanned. And the majority of all unplanned pregnancies are among unmarried young women who live at or below the poverty line. These unplanned pregnancies pose a variety of health and socioeconomic challenges for these women—and by extension, their children.

We have seen the incredible progress teens and young women have made during the last 20 years and know that more can—and will—be done to affect this incredible important social issue. We know that giving all women the power to decide if, when, and under what circumstances to get pregnant gives them the opportunity to determine their future success and improves their lives. We at The National Campaign might have bold goals, but we are ready and willing to take on that challenge. We look forward to seeing another decrease next year. 

Authored by: Jessica Sheets Pika

Jessica Sheets Pika is the Director, Communications and Editorial Content at The National Campaign.  In that capacity, Jessica drives the communications strategy for the Campaign by curating, writing, and editing content; managing consultants and content contributors; and developing new activities and content areas for the organization.  She is the organization’s editor and manages the creation and publication of all Campaign materials.   In addition, Jessica manages the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy/Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, a national, digital call to action encouraging teens to think about how their lives might change if they were to become pregnant. Jessica also handles press initiatives, spearheads the design and creation of new National Campaign materials, and provides general communications and editorial guidance to all program areas of the Campaign.

Jessica joined The National Campaign in 2006 and has nearly 15 years of experience in the non-profit health care world.  She received a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Political Science from Wake Forest University and lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, her adorable children, and their dog, Cora.

Other Recent Posts

May 19, 2017
By Andrea Kane, VP, Policy & Strategic Partnerships The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and Erin White, Senior Director America's Promise AllianceResearch has shown that becoming a parent is one of the top seven reasons a student leaves high school before graduating....
Teen Pregnancy
Kailyn Lowry
May 15, 2017
Authored by: Paige Whipple

Paige is the Communications Coordinator at The National Campaign. She works with media partners in television and publishing to help them incorporate teen and unplanned pregnancy prevention messages into their work.

She came to The Campaign after graduating Magna Cum Laude from Towson University with a Bachelor’s in Mass Communication and Journalism. Paige worked at Baltimore Style Magazine for two years, wrote a bi-weekly column for Towson’s newspaper, and was a contributor for an online magazine, The DC Ladies. She also runs social media accounts for several Baltimore-based businesses as a freelancer.

She shares her alma matter with Amy Schumer and Mike Rowe—not bad company to be in. 

Kailyn Lowry, one of the moms featured on Teen Mom 2, has graduated from college. We’ve known Kail since she was first on 16 & Pregnant and are thrilled that she can finally check “getting a degree” off her list of accomplishments. Now in addition to being a New York Times bestselling author (...
Education, Media, Popular Culture, Teen Pregnancy
Sign that reads "Evidence" agains a blue sky in the background
May 04, 2017
Authored by: Tara Mancini

Tara Mancini is the Public Policy Manager at The National Campaign.  In this role she supports the Public Policy Department’s advocacy work on federal appropriations and on opportunities to reduce teen and unplanned pregnancy through Medicaid and health care delivery system reform at the federal and state levels.

Tara previously served as the Public Policy Fellow at The National Campaign.  She also worked at the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, providing research assistance on Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program, and the Affordable Care Act.

Tara earned a BA in Sociology and BA in Justice Studies from Rhode Island College and her MA in Sociology from American University.  She lives in Washington, DC, where she can frequently be found laughing at a stand-up comedy show. 

The recent March for Science, worldwide demonstrations by scientists and science enthusiasts to champion public funding for “evidence-based policies in the public interest,” revealed a non-partisan groundswell of support for, well, science.This outpouring of public support for evidence-based policy...
Public Policy, Teen Pregnancy
A group of teenagers smiling and laughing

We are redesigning our website and need your help.

Please take this quick survey to share your thoughts on what you like and what we can do to improve.