BY Staff Reporter | Oct 02, 2014 08:06 PM EDT
A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that giving teenage girls free birth control eventually encourages them to use long-acting methods and cuts the chances of them getting pregnant or having an abortion, according to ABC News.
In a study involving 1,404 teenage girls, researchers reportedly found that counseling and free contraceptives helped in cutting the girls' rates of unplanned pregnancy and abortion, according to HCP Live.
Over the course of three years, their annual pregnancy rate reportedly averaged 34 per 1,000 girls compared to the rate of 158 per 1,000 among all sexually active teenage girls in the United States. The abortion rates were 8.7 per 1,000 girls while the national abortion rate was 41.5 per 1,000 sexually active girls.
"What we're seeing here are extraordinary declines," chief program officer for the Washington, D.C. based National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, Bill Albert, told HealthDay.
Of the 56 pregnancies that occurred during the study, the teenagers reported using no birth control at the time of conception in a total of 25 cases. Only two with IUDs reportedly became pregnant while thirteen said they had been using birth control pills.
"When costs are removed, young people and families will us these effective methods," stated Mary Ott of Indiana University.
Ott reportedly had no role in the study but led an American Academy of Pediatrics' policy statement encouraging long-acting contraception.
Ott added that offering free, effective birth control is "good for teens and it's cost-effective for society."
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