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Failure to Curb Teen Pregnancies Cited

February 10, 1986|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The nation has failed to devise a focused effort to stem the rising tide of teen-age pregnancies, which often doom adolescent mothers and their offspring to lives of poverty, a House committee said Sunday.

"The prospect of 1 million teen-age pregnancies, 400,000 abortions and one-half million births each year, nearly 55% of which will be births to unmarried teens, is chilling," said the report by the Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families. "The human and fiscal costs to all are unacceptable."

Teen-age girls who have children are more likely than their peers to drop out of school and become dependent on government assistance, the report said.

And families headed by young mothers are seven times more likely to live in poverty, the report said. It noted an Urban Institute finding that, in 1975, $8.5 billion from Aid to Families with Dependent Children, Medicaid and the food stamp program went to families that were headed by teen-age mothers.

In a separate report on the birthrate among teen-age girls, Los Angeles County rated among the highest in the nation, and the number of pregnancies among girls under 15 in the region is on the rise.

The survey, conducted by Thomas David, director of the Bush Program in Child and Family Policy at UCLA, showed that the county's black and Latino teen-agers are three to four times as likely to have a child as teen-agers of other groups.

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