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Report: Teen Pregnancies Reach Lowest Level in 40 Years

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Teen pregnancies in the United States are at their lowest level in nearly 40 years, says a new report published by the Guttmacher Institute.

The organization, which focuses on sexual and reproductive health, released the U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions, 2008: National Trends by Age, Race and Ethnicity report on Wednesday, showing 7 percent of U.S. teens aged between 15 to 19 became pregnant in 2008.

The rate is a 42-percent drop in all racial categories from 1990. Racial disparities still persist, however, with Hispanic and black teens becoming pregnant at at a rate of at least twice their white peers. In 2008 abortion rates for black teens were four times higher than for white teens.

The drop in pregnancies is attributed in part to teens using contraception more effectively as well as a decrease in sexual activity.

"The recent declines in teen pregnancy rates are great news," said lead author Kathryn Kost. "However, the continued inequities among racial and ethnic minorities are cause for concern. It is time to redouble our efforts to ensure that all teens have access to the information and contraceptive services they need to prevent unwanted pregnancies."

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