HOLD FOR RELEASE UNTIL 8:30 A.M.; graphic shows the teen birth rate for 15- to -19 year olds for 2006 by state; 1 c x 3 1/4 in; 46.5 mm x 82.55 mm; 2 c x 3 1/4 in; 96.3 mm x 82.55 mm
It could just be a statistical blip, but a new federal report says Mississippi is now the state with the nation's highest teen pregnancy rate.
Mississippi's rate was more than 60 percent higher than the national average in 2006. That pushes it past Texas and New Mexico. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the teen pregnancy rates in those states remained high -- more than 50 percent above the national average.
The lowest teen birth rate is in New Hampshire.
Overall in 2006, teen pregnancy increased, a statistic some experts blame on abstinence-only health education that does not teach teens how to use condoms and other contraception. However, some conservative organizations argue contraceptive-focused sex education remains common, and the new teen birth numbers suggest it's failing.
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