Teen pregnancy costs state taxpayers millions, new report says

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A new analysis finds teen pregnancy cost taxpayers in Minnesota at least $146 million in 2010.

The report, from the non-profit National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, says nationally, teen pregnancy cost taxpayers $9.4 billion.

Most of the costs of teen childbearing are associated with negative consequences for the children of teen mothers, the report says, including increased costs for health care, foster care, incarceration and lost tax revenue.

The teen birth rate in Minnesota fell by 40 percent between 1991 and 2010. Still, according to the report, there were almost 104,000 teen births in the state over the same time period.

“Even though teen pregnancy and childbearing are at historic lows, the still-high public costs associated with teen childbearing remind us all that complacency should not hinder further progress and that progress should not be confused with victory,” says Sarah Brown, CEO of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

“In addition to improving the well-being of children, youth, and families, reducing teen pregnancy also saves taxpayer dollars,” Brown says.

The group isn’t alone in calling for more to be done to prevent girls from getting pregnant.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says girls between the ages of 15 and 17 still account for one out of four teen births. That’s about 1,700 births each week.

“Far too many teens are still having babies,” says CDC Director Tom Frieden. “Births to younger teens pose the greatest risk of poor medical, social and economic outcomes.”

More numbers from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy report:

– In 2008, 45 percent of all pregnancies in Minnesota were unintended.

– Minnesota’s unintended pregnancy rate in 2008 was 43 per 1,000 women aged 15-44.

– In 2008, 59 percent of unintended pregnancies in Minnesota resulted in births and 26 percent resulted in abortions; the remainder resulted in miscarriages.

– In Minnesota in 2008, the federal and state governments spent $153 million on births resulting from unintended pregnancies; of this, half was paid by the federal government and half by the state.

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