Nation & World Briefs 05-06-14 Teen pregnancy, birth and abortion rates all falling research shows

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Looks like good news may come in threes. The teenage pregnancy rate, birth rate and abortion rate have all dropped sharply since their respective peaks in the 1990s, according to new research by the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit organization focused on reproductive health.

The recent fall in these three rates shows that teen births may be down in part because fewer teens are getting pregnant in the first place, researchers said.

The teenage pregnancy rate dropped 51 percent between 1990 and 2010, according to the report. The 2010 rate of 57.4 pregnancies per 1,000 teenage girls and women 15-19 also represents a drop of 15 percent since 2008 alone.

The teen birthrate also declined by 44 percent, from its peak in 1991 of 61.8 to 34.4 births per 1,000. The teen abortion rate experienced the steepest drop of 66 percent, from 43.5 abortions per 1,000 at its 1988 peak to just 14.7 per 1,000.

"This report demonstrates that, in fact, fewer teens are becoming pregnant than at any time since tracking of this data began -- reflecting our finding that both birthrates and abortion rates among teens have steadily declined," the study authors wrote.

The declines in teen pregnancy rates were seen across racial and ethnic groups, declining 56 percent among white teenagers (from 86.6 to 37.8 per 1,000), 56 percent among black teenagers (from 223.8 to 99.5 per 1,000) and 51 percent among Latino teenagers (from 169.7 to 83.5 per 1,000).

Rejects appeal on gun rights: The Supreme Court has turned away another case over whether Americans have a constitutional right to be armed in public. The justices on Monday let stand a lower court ruling upholding a New Jersey requirement for gun owners to show an urgent need to carry a handgun outside their home for self-defense. Both a police official and a judge must approve the permits. The New Jersey law was challenged by four individuals and two gun groups, and had the backing of 19 states. The justices turned away similar questions on at least two earlier occasions.

Snapped clip suspected: Investigators suspect that a snapped clip sent eight aerial acrobats plummeting 20 feet or more during a daring act in Providence, R.I., in which performers dangle from their hair. One injured performer told her father she didn't notice anything amiss before her "plunge into darkness." The clip, a common type called a carabiner that's used for everything from rock climbing to holding keyrings, was one of several pieces at the top of a chandelier-like apparatus that suspended the performers, fire officials said. After the accident, the 4- to 5-inch steel clip was found in three pieces on the ground with its spine snapped.

Baby safety gates aren't always safe: Baby gates meant to protect young children aren't always as safe as parents think. A new study says nearly 2,000 U.S. kids get emergency room treatment each year from injuries resulting from falling through or climbing on these gates. Most injuries weren't serious. But the researchers said parents should know about precautions. That includes using bolted gates, not pressure-mounted ones, at the top of the stairs. Researcher Lara McKenzie and colleagues at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, examined data on kids up to age 6. The number injured on gates more than tripled over 20 years. These cases climbed from about 4 per 100,000 children in 1990 to almost 13 per 100,000 in 2010. The study was published online Monday in the journal Academic Pediatrics.

Tea party vs. GOP establishment: Today's primary in North Carolina offers the latest round in the tea party vs. the GOP establishment battle for the U.S. Senate, and so far the establishment appears to be winning. Both the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove's American Crossroads have thrown their support and dollars behind Thom Tillis, speaker of the state House, as party elders try to secure their favored candidate to confront first-term Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan in November. But it's Greg Brannon, a conservative, Christian ob-gyn, who has captured the passion of the tea party-aligned wing of the GOP.

Kiev sends elite force to Odessa: Ukraine sent an elite national guard unit to its southern port of Odessa, desperate to halt a spread of the fighting between government troops and a pro-Russia militia in the east that killed combatants on both sides Monday.

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