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Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 48, 1073-1080.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (1999). Family planning. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 48, 1073-1080.

This report by the Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC, reviews the history of family planning in the United States, documents the impact of family planning services in preventing unintended pregnancy, and outlines trends and current use of different contraceptive methods.

Family size in the United States increased from 1940 until 1957 when the average number of children per family peaked at 3.7. Family size declined steadily until the early 1970s and since 1972 the average family size has levelled off at approximately two children per family. In the United States the era of modern contraception began in 1960 when both the oral contraceptive pill and the intrauterine devise (IUD) were approved for use by the FDA. By 1965, the oral contraceptive pill had become the most popular birth control method, followed by the condom and contraceptive sterilization. The use of contraceptive sterilization increased during the 1970s and 1980s and it is now the most widely used birth control method in the United States. IUD use increased during the early 1980s but then declined because of concerns about intrauterine infections. For the year 1995, the percentage of couples in the U.S. using various methods of contraception was as follows: Female sterilization (25.6%), contraceptive pill (24.9%), male condom (18.9%), male sterilization (10.1%), withdrawal (2.9%), injectable (Depo-Provera) (2.7%), periodic abstinence (2.2%), diaphragm (1.7%), implant (Norplant) (1.3%), spermicides (1.3%), and IUD (0.7%). The report notes that during the 1980s and 1990s, the use of condoms increased among U.S. adolescents and that, since 1991, the increased use of long-acting hormonal contraception (i.e., Depo-Provera and Norplant) has also contributed to a decline in adolescent pregnancy rates. The proportion of adolescent women who are unmarried when giving birth rose from 15% in 1960 to about 75% in 1998.

Publicly supported family planning services prevent an estimated 1.3 million unintended pregnancies in the U.S. each year. Many of the women who receive contraceptive services from public clinics are adolescent (43%), poor (39%), and never-married (34%). Currently, 49% of pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended and 54% of such pregnancies end in abortion.

The authors of the report note that,
 Access to high quality contraceptive services will continue to be an
 important factor in promoting healthy pregnancies and preventing unintended
 pregnancy in this country ... Marshalling public support for efforts needed
 to reduce the high rate of unintended pregnancy and to provide the full
 array of reproductive health-care services remains a challenge (p. 1079).
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Article Details
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Author:McKay, Alexander
Publication:The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality
Article Type:Polling Data
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 1999
Previous Article:Family Planning Perspectives, 31, 237-240 & 260.
Next Article:Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 39, 48-50.

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