Health Official Says Comprehensive Sex-Ed Helps Reduce Teen Birth Rate

Sep 17, 2014

A Wyoming Department of Health study says that the state’s teen birth rate has dropped every year for the last six years.

In 2008 Wyoming had about 50 births for every 1000 teen girls. That rate dropped to about 35 births in 2013. Some counties have seen even more dramatic decreases.

Linda Thyfault is the family planning director at the Laramie County Health Department’s Title-Ten clinic. That county saw 165 teen births in 2006, and just 96 last year. Thyfault says her clinic teaches sex-ed classes in the school district and she believes that’s part of the falling birth rate.

"They get information on all the birth control methods, we talk about STDs, we talk about how to access services at the clinic, we talk about postponing sexual activity, the importance of abstinence, and the importance of them being the person to make the decision," she said.

Thyfault says it’s possible teens are even having less sex, because they’re more informed.

"Knowledge is never bad. Knowing everything doesn’t influence you, it just gives you more power to make a decision that’s appropriate for you."

All junior highs and all but two high schools in Laramie County currently have reproductive health classes taught by staff at Title X.

Fremont and Campbell counties also saw significant decreases in the instances of teen births. Both of those counties’ teen birth rates were cut nearly in half over the last six years.  

Wyoming’s statewide teen birth rate of 34.6 births per 1000 girls is still higher than the national average. The state is not required to teach sex-ed in schools.