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Teen Pregnancies, Abortions Plunge With Free Birth Control: Study

Update Date: Oct 02, 2014 09:05 AM EDT

Teens receiving free contraception and education regarding pros and cons of various birth control methods were significantly less likely to get pregnant, give birth or get an abortion compared with other sexually active teens, according to a new study. 

In the study, long acting forms of birth control were promoted, i.e., intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants, as they show superior effectiveness in preventing unintended pregnancies. 

"When we removed barriers to contraception for teens such as lack of knowledge, limited access and cost in a group of teens, we were able to lower pregnancy, birth and abortion rates," said Gina Secura, PhD, the study's first author and director of the CHOICE Project, in the press release. "This study demonstrates there is a lot more we can do to reduce the teen pregnancy rate."

From 2008-13, the annual pregnancy rate of teens ages 15-19 in the study averaged 34 per 1,000, compared with 158.5 per 1,000 in 2008 for sexually active U.S. teens, the press release added.

"The difference in pregnancy, birth and abortion rates between teens enrolled in the Contraceptive CHOICE Project and U.S. teens is remarkable," said Jeffrey Peipert, MD, PhD, principal investigator of the CHOICE Project and the Robert J. Terry Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The findings of the study were published in the journal New England Journal of Medicine.

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