Teen Pregnancy Rate in the Netherlands: Lower than Ours?

Jessie Castellano, Senior Staff Writer (12)

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   Teenage pregnancy is a leading issue that most countries deal with today. The effects on the economy, along with public opinion, only solidify the need to control the problem. Benefit programs, like the ones inAmerica, continue to dwindle away all their funding by supporting this adolescent group. Ignoring the criticism from more conservative countries, one must acknowledge the lack of maturity level of these young adults. Their promising lives end and now they must care for an accident they never saw coming.

   One of the leading countries today actually has one of the lowest teenage birth rates in the world. In the Netherlands—home to the infamous red light district of Amsterdam—there is a tremendous reputation of the area’s “laid back” consideration for drinking, drugs, and even sex.                                          

  As to “why” teen pregnancy rates are lower there than anywhere else, can be answered by observing the contraceptive use rates among teenagers. In the US, twenty-five percent of the male adolescents admit to not using condoms. Females in the States admit that thirty-eight percent do not use condoms. But the astounding fact is that despite this thirty- eight percent admitting to not using condoms—leaving them victim to any STI’s their partner may have—only eleven percent of young women use the contraceptive pill. Now by observing the lack of contraceptive used on America’s side, their pregnancy rate does not astonish one quite as much.

   The Netherlands’ results offer a much larger gap when compared to the states. Only fifteen percent of the males admit to not using condoms, while their females reside in the twenty-five percent range. Also, fifty-five percent of adolescent females admit to using the contraceptive pill. These results alone would create a significant difference in the two countries’ teen pregnancy rates.

    A professor at the University of Amsterdam, Van Lunsen, analyzed the leading issues which point to his country’s low teenage pregnancy rate. He determined the “de-medicalization” of sex concerns that make the Netherland youth more prepared to use contraceptives. Certain reassuring measures such as no requirement for pelvic exams during clinic visits have increased the likelihood that teens will visit and seek birth control methods. Before these approaches, these issues seemed to agitate many adolescents to the point that clinical visits and investments in birth control became unimportant.

   The Netherlands’, “liberal sexual attitude, excellent sex education … and [legality of] abortion,” only provides evidence as to why they maintain the lowest teenage birth rate in the world. Now if the United States would only emulate the country’s progressive attitude, we might see a change or even reduction in the teen pregnancy rate.

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