Wash. teen pregnancy rate decreases - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Wash. teen pregnancy rate decreases

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OLYMPIA, Wash. -- The pregnancy rate among teenagers, ages 15-19 is the lowest since 1980.

The Department of Health says rates have declined since the peak in 1989; 96 pregnancies per 1,000 teens. In 2009 the rate was 46.6 per 1,000.

Health leaders say they aren't exactly clear as to why the number has decreased. Factors that could be at play include safe sex practices, abstinence, and increased availability and acceptability of contraceptives.

According to a press release from the DOH: "Teen abortion rates are also at a new low. In 2009 the abortion rate for teens 15 to 19 was 16.6 compared to 18.7 in 2008. All women of childbearing age (15 to 44 years) are having fewer abortions. The rate of reported abortions for this group last year was 16.7 per 1,000 compared to 18 in 2008. The pregnancy rate per 1,000 for the same group of women also dropped from 85.2 in 2008 to 83 in 2009."