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June 13, 1977

Pregnancy Out of Wedlock

Author Affiliations

Family Planning Project Director American Public Health Association Washington, DC

JAMA. 1977;237(24):2600. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270510022003

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To the Editor.—  The editorial statement "Illegitimacy—A Professional Concern" (237:574, 1977) overstates some aspects of the problem and may detract from preventive approaches. Recent reports on out-of-wedlock births as a proportion of all births, exceeding 50% in some urban areas, must be viewed in perspective: plummeting fertility among married women, the rise in average age at marriage during the past few years, the large number of adolescents in the population, and the dearth of adequate contraceptive education and services for young people.Rather than attribute the alarming proportion of out-of-wedlock pregnancies to "new life-styles," it is important to recognize that the birth rate among teenagers has been declining, as it has in older women, but in the former it has occurred at a slower rate. Thus, we face a situation in which the contraceptive revolution has reached well into all areas of our population except the unwed, adolescent sector. Providing