Canada Reports Decrease in Teen Pregnancy, Increases Among Women Over 30

A recent report on pregnancy rates among Canadian women shows increasing numbers of women are postponing having children until their 30s while pregnancy rates among teens and women in their 20s have been declining. Statistics Canada has issued reports documenting that the percentage of teenage pregnancies dropped from 14% in 1974 to 8% in 2001. During this same period pregnancy rates among women in their 30s more than doubled from 20% in 1974 to 43% in 2001 As reported by the Toronto Globe and Mail, an even larger increase occurred in women aged 35 to 39.

Annette Johns, executive director of Planned Parenthood for Newfoundland and Labrador sited the benefits of access to sexual health information in her reaction to the decrease in the rate of pregnancy among teens. Johns commented that the decrease cannot be attributed to any increase in the abortion rate, but only to an actual decrease in the incidence of teen pregnancy. Johns told the London Free Press, “If you provide young people with sexual health information and educate them, they are able to make informed decisions.”

In her article in the London Free Press, Lorrayne Anthony of the Canadian Press wrote, “For all those who toiled in the feminist movement in the 1960s and 70s one goal has come to fruition Ð reproductive freedom.” Anthony went on to say that “Not only are fewer teens becoming pregnant than three decades ago, but many Canadian women are waiting to start families until their careers are in placeÉ”

The reports include statistics based on counts of live births, induced abortions and fetal loss. According to Statistics Canada, in 2001, 74 percent of the total pregnancies resulted in live births, induced abortions accounted for 24% and the remaining 2 percent of pregnancies ended in fetal loss which is defined as stillbirths and hospital reports of miscarriage.

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Statistics Canada 10/27/04; Toronto Globe and Mail 10/27/04; London Free Press 10/28/04; Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report 10/29/04

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