Science in Media – Teen Pregnancy

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There is a serious flaw when presenting information such as teen birth.

Recently, I was processing some questions and a random internet search came up with the following:

Definitions: Teenagers 15 through 19 years of age who were pregnant, regardless of marital status. Pregnancy outcomes could be live births, abortions, or fetal deaths. Therefore, total pregnancy equals the sum of live births, abortions, and fetal deaths.” and
“Rates represent the number of pregnancies to 15-19 year old women per 1,000 women of this age group. ” (https://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/tables/3379-teen-pregnancy-15-19#detailed/2/any/false/870,573,869,36,868,867,133,38,35,18/any/8027,10504. Accessed 11/18/2020)

This highlights a conception issue when comparing a study and “real life”. The average age of menarche in the United States is “12.88 years for Caucasian girls and 12.16 years for African American girls,” according to Women’s Health Encyclopedia . According to the CDC, over half of US teens have had sex by age 18, yet again, they only count 15-19 year olds. When doing more research on CDC websites, you get this repetitive number range. When you dig a bit deeper, you see that they did collect some data for “all” teen years. Digging deeper into the tables as well, you find out that 11% of teenage women have had sex before age 15.

Without a written policy in these studies for their reasoning, one is left to wonder why all teens are not included and if they are not, why not represent it appropriately as “15-19 year olds,” or “late teens” or even breaking up women as categories for under/over legal majority or age of consent?

Where was this decided, by whom, and using what strategies? In reading the statistics, it’s inaccurate at best and misrepresentation at worst.

It’s easy to reason that different states have different legal ages of majority, or that there is a reasoned age of consent, but then why the inclusion of 19-year-olds as a measure, given that they are legal adults in all 50 states of the US?

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