Teen Pregnancy Rates Fall Dramatically In San Diego And Imperial Valley
San Diego and Imperial Counties are part of a statewide trend of dropping rates of teen pregnancy.
A new report from the State Department of Public Health shows falling teen pregnancy rates over the past two decades. Between 2000 and 2016, San Diego County saw teenage births fall nearly 70 percent. In Imperial County, they fell close to 60 percent.
Imperial County Health Department's Adriana Ramirez says teen birth rates have dropped for many reasons. She says a change in the healthcare data privacy law, HIPAA, means teens no longer need parental consent to get birth control.
"In 2002, it was revised to include protection to teens, who often said that confidentiality was one of the reasons they did not seek preventive health care services," Ramirez said.
She added that education is vital to reducing teen pregnancy.
"With promoting positive youth development, encouraging young people to plan for their future and look forward to college and careers," she said. "Family planning can definitely influence their lives and help them achieve their goals."
The trend is seen throughout California. The number of females aged 15-19 increased by 15% between 2000 and 2016. Even so, the number of births in this population decreased by 61 percent. The state average of teenage birth in California is 15.7 per 1,000 girls.
Imperial County's teen birth rate of 29 births per 1,000 girls is still one of the highest in California. Ramirez says Imperial County's high rate of poverty and it's rural character explain some of that.