For the third year in a row, teen birth rates are declining in states across the U.S., including Georgia.But that’s not the case in many rural counties.
The report by the Centers for Disease Control says in 2010, 41 out of 1,000 teenage girls in Georgia had a baby. But in some rural counties the rate is more than double that.
Julie Sharpe with Georgia Kids Count tracks health data in rural Georgia. She says on top of the already high local teen pregnancy rates, the state is shutting down 30 teen centers where kids participate in pregnancy prevention programs.
“When the funding for those goes, you do see a corresponding increase in things like teen birth rates, and more recreational use of drugs. You know we have to keep kids off the street and engaged in positive activities.”
Sharpe says many health clinics in outlying areas have also closed or cut hours, removing access to birth control. Teen births cost the state nearly a half-billion dollars a year.