COLUMBUS, OHIO -- Attempting to find trends in statistical data can be a challenge, but a few recently released numbers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) could be encouraging for the Pregnancy Help Community.
One piece of possible good news comes from the birth rate to unmarried women, down from a rate of 45.3 per thousand women in 2012 to 44.3 in 2013. This rate has dropped every year from 2008 (when the rate was at an all-time high of 51.8 per thousand women).
The United States is a long way from 1980, when this rate was only 29.4 in one thousand unmarried women, but the continued progress is a notable trend.
In addition, the birth rate for 15 to 19 year-old women dropped from 29.4 per thousand in 2012 to 26.5 in 2013. This is a drop of more than 35 percent from 2006, when the rate was 41.5 per thousand.
While the media and pro-abortion groups will claim birth-control access and even abortion are behind this drop, pregnancy help organizations may be justified in taking more than a little credit.
Programs offering abstinence-based, as well as relational and sexual wholeness are on the rise, as are pregnancy help medical clinics, where STI and STD testing are giving even more opportunities to spread the message of abstinence outside of marriage.
As many as 62 percent of the 2,400 pregnancy help organizations now offer ultrasound services, while the number of organizations offering STI testing—though just 17 percent—has doubled in each of the past two years, according to statistics provided by Heartbeat International.
Another number jumps out of this CDC Report, released January 15. While the overall birth rate dropped to a record low, births to married women are making a comeback. In 2013, birth rates for married women continued a four-year climb from 84.3 in one thousand in 2010 to 86.9 in one thousand in 2013.
Finding trends and causal links in this data is difficult, underscoring the need for an individual PHO to track local and state data regarding its own progress regarding abortion rates, birth rates and even its own efforts to build family units.
For now however, PHOs can find some good news in the latest reports—and they may be playing a role in changing a culture.