Record-setting numbers are showing Missouri teenage girls and women have more freedom to pursue education and careers because they are not becoming mothers. The number of births to Missouri teen mothers started declining fifteen years ago….and a state health deparment analyst says that decline is reflected in several ways…. Along with that decline is the continued shrinkage of the percentage of girls and women 15 through 19 years old who give birth—reaching the lowest rates in almost a century. Health department analyst Joe Stockbauer says there were about 87-hundred births to teenagers last year in Missouri. He says Missouri recorded its lowest teenage birth rate since the end of World War Two and the lowests teenage fertility rate since the department began keeping records 95 years ago. He says several factors contribute to that record—the “just say no campaign” as well as family planning services and contraceptive available, among other things. There are other spinoffs, too, he says—fewer abortions and fewer children available for adoptions… On the other hand is the continued rise of out-of-wedlock births since the 1970s, but Stockbauer says that increase is coming among women 20 and older.
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