Erie County teen birth rate drops

Decline attributed, in part, to better access to birth control
Andy Ouriel
Jul 14, 2013

Cameron’s little smile eventually surfaced, accentuating his chubby cheeks as he gently rocked back and forth.

The 2-month-old boy seemed happy in a motorized swing.
His mother, 19-year-old Corrine Engel, also appeared delighted, staring at the person she adores most.
“I talk to him and tell him that I love him, and he is my perfect little boy,” Engel said.
But the Huron resident had to make some sacrifices when Cameron came into this world.
“It’s a lot more difficult than people think,” Engel said during a recent interview. “I’m not with the father. I’m not able to see my friends. I’m not able to work. Just trying to find baby sitters so I can get things done is tough.”
Many younger mothers can sympathize with Engel’s struggles.
About 250 mothers ages 14 to 19 gave birth in Erie County from 2008 through 2012, according to a Register analysis of Erie County Health Department data obtained through a public records request.
This group accounted for 9.4 percent of all births in Erie County during this five-year period. 
The data also reveals the local teenage birthrate has decreased over time. In 2012, for instance, 7 percent of all births in the county came from teen moms, a drop from the 12 percent, or 71 teens, in 2002.
The decline in Erie County jibes with national statistics. The teen birthrate in the U.S. plummeted from about 42 per 1,000 teens in 2007 to 31 per 1,000 teens in 2011, according to data recently released by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 
“The steady decline in teen pregnancy represents one of the nation’s great success stories,” Sarah Brown, CEO of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, said in a release.
The organization, which seeks to improve the lives and future of children and families, is still wary of the figures.
“Despite all of this amazing progress, it is still the case that nearly three in 10 girls get pregnant by age 20, and that the U.S. has the highest teen pregnancy rate among comparable countries,” Brown stated.
As an example, the U.S. teen birth rate nearly triples Canada’s 13 births per 1,000 teens, and it’s almost double the United Kingdom’s 27 births per 1,000 teens, according to The National Campaign.
Birth control
Erie County’s plunging teenage birth rate could be partly attributed to better access to birth control, said Dr. Laurie Rousseau, a Berlin Heights family medicine physician affiliated with Firelands Regional Medical Center.
“Access is probably improved due to increased education about how and where to obtain birth control,” Rousseau said. “Within the past 10 years, the cost of birth control has become much more affordable for those who do not have insurance or if their plan doesn’t cover birth control.”
Case in point: A variety of generic prescription oral contraceptives can be purchased for about $9 a month at most convenience stores and pharmacies, Rousseau said.
And while it’s cheap and effective, birth control is also relatively safe, Rousseau said.
Most birth control medicines, however, require a prescription from a health care professional. But condoms can be purchased over-the-counter at most pharmacies and convenience stores.
“When used consistently and correctly, they are an excellent form of birth control,” Rousseau said about condoms.
A new healthcare policy authored by President Barack Obama a year ago now provides better access to birth control.
“Access is available now, free and to anyone under 18 at their local health department and family planning clinics,” Rousseau said. “Over the age of 18, the cost is adjusted based on income and ability to pay.”
There are also safeguards in place to ensure a teenage mother’s care remains private.
“Any teen can be seen by their private physicians for any reproductive issue — birth control, counseling, sexually transmitted disease treatment, etc. — with complete confidentiality without parental consent,” Rousseau said. “The
Affordable Healthcare Act will mandate that all insurances cover more prescriptions for birth control.”:
Helping teens and tots
In Erie County, two leading organizations help young mothers cope with the surprises and stress of parenthood. At the Erie County Health Department, officials educate thousands of children each year about the risks of teen pregnancy.
Whether they’re in school or visiting the Superior Street facility, officials routinely inform teens about sex.
“(Teens) receive the usual standard of maternity care,” Erie County health commissioner Pete Schade said. “We do address specific needs and require parental consent to treat a teen under 18. We can refer them to other community resources as needed.”
Workers at Heartbeat of Sandusky, a Perkins Township-based pregnancy center and maternity home, aim to provide mothers and families with emotional support as they enter trying times.
The nonprofit social service agency does not receive any government subsidies. It assisted about 350 people in 2012.
Among the programs catered to teen moms: SMILE, where nurses from Firelands Regional Medical Center talk to teen moms and moms-to-be about preparing for motherhood. The talks range from nutrition to labor and delivery along with properly bathing a baby.
“None of us are perfect,” Heartbeat’s executive director Mattie Sparks said. “Rather than being the problem, you can be part of the solution. Young moms come in here. They made a poor choice, so we have to help and encourage them. All someone needs is helping making good choices, and we want to move forward and make the best of the decision.”
Proud mom
Engel’s not enrolled in either program.
And despite the challenges she faces today, and expects later on, being a parent still thrills her.
“I love being a mom,” Engel said. “It’s wonderful. I like staying home with him. Whatever he is interested in, I’m going to support him 100 percent and hope he gets everything he wants in life.”
* * * 
Expectant teens and those who already given birth can turn to local agencies for help:
Erie County Health Department
Where:420 Superior St., Sandusky
Phone: 419-626-5623
Heartbeat of Sandusky
Where: 3423 Columbus Ave., Perkins Township
Phone: 419-625-9511



Is abortion part of what was considered in this as birth control?


The Ohio House of Republicans will make sure this does not stand! Texas transvaginal ultrasound forever!


Just think how much the birth rate will drop when any age female can get the morning after pill without parental content. Hooray, unlimited sex between all children without consequences.


The morning after pill is NOTHING more than a high dosed BIRTH CONTROL pill. IT does not cause an abortion. IT is NOT an abortion. You can get birth control pills with out parental consent what is the big deal. NO different.


The age a young lady can obtain this morning after pill without parental consent is the difference. Sex without consequences at any age.

Lets not teach morals and responsibility. Grab another partner and have some fun. Yippee!


Anyone that THINKS the "age of young ladies" you are describing here are NOT having sex is delusional. And if you think abstinence education works that is about as helpful as trying to stop a flood with toilet paper. Kids have sex. YOUNG kids are having sex. YOUNG kids are having babies.

The Big Dog's back

dono, if men were the ones having babies there would be birth control and abortion shops on every corner.

Pterocarya frax...

Yeah, let's go back to abstinence only education and restrict access to birth control. We know how well that has worked in the past.


Great point, Pterocarya!


Sure think Ptero - when teen birth rates drop to 1950's level, your statement might have meaning.


Yep, and this will reduce the teen population as well through STD,s that kill!


Or older people consider this: many 30 & under state they DON'T want children. The reason? "This world is messed up."

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I can help back this up. Other reasons are that they are expensive, don't want to be branded a stereotype, and because there is entertainment available 24/7 to help replace the urge. Sex education has certainly helped and I would suspect because of the tough economic times in addition to the expense of a child many in that age group are living together as roommates or at home with their parents (even at that age) so the environment in which "oops" can happen is more restricted.


That's the exact SAME reason - I chose to be child- FREE more than 25 years ago!!

:) :)


Why can't she work? I know many single mothers with newborns who work. Just because you have a baby doesn't mean it is the government's job to support you. I understand it is hard but life is hard. Buck up, pay a sitter, and get a job.


How do you pay your bills when you sit at home and don't work?


How does she have a home, she is sitting on a couch? She has on clothes. She feeds the baby. She is living off the GOVERNMENT like all the rest! It is ALOT easier. The government (you and me) pay for everything for the baby, then she gets to have smartphones and manicures.


I always chuckle when I hear people paint a problem with a broad stroke, like Ladyd's "like all the rest" comment. Certainly there ARE people who are lazy and don't try to get a job. But to say that EVERYONE who is on the gov't dole wants to be there, is both silly and incorrect. Not to mention offensive and insensitive. If you're getting $290 a week - before taxes - that's not exactly an easy life. Instead of villainizing the poor, why not call attention to the real problem: how the 1% are getting richer and richer, while wages for the middle-class and lower-class have stagnated?


Ok, I am sorry. Do not paint them ALL in a broad stroke. There are a very FEW that do it on their own. I have a friend who did it. She went to school full time. Had a part time job and a newborn. Mind you this was in l992. I had 3 jobs. I watched the baby when I could so she could work or go to school. If I couldn't help my mother did. When my friend asked for help to make ends meet, she was told she made TOO MUCH money at her part time job and either she QUIT her job to receive help or she got NOTHING. This girl lived on her own. NO child support, no metro, no welfare, no food stamps, no nothing. She did it on her own. She paid for her own school, her own car, her own rent. The help she needed was to get formula for the baby. Her part time job made TOO much money to get help. She needed to QUIT her job to get formula for the baby! If she quit her job, then she would have had no money for gas to get to school! It is a never ending circle. I will tell you this friend now has 3 children. The "baby" is in college, graduated HS with HONORS, her little sister was valedictorian, her little brother is in HS now. It can be done.


WHAT IS YOUR POINT? This happens everyday all over America! It's great she had good enough jobs to pay her own rent, utilities, car , gas, food and all that. However, you don't get brownie points for being the mother you are suppose to be. Father either!


Coasterfan said I should not lump everyone all together. I was simply stating that there are a FEW that are not sucking off of society. I am not saying you need brownie points, I am not saying everyone is a leech. I will say TOO MANY do are leeches. TOO many suck off of society. The FEW that make it on their own are becoming a RARITY. I applaud those that DO make it on their own!


I disagree. It is not a RARITY that people raise their own kids. Happens everyday. Don't generalize. You are not the only responsible adult in this world. IF AND I DO MEAN "IF" there are about 250 resident on welfare, how do you think the rest of Erie County raises their children?

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I agree with your statements about broad-brushing people. Regarding the last part of your statement it is because "the rich/1%" have the ability to participate in market forces more and aren't as dependent on the "lower-class" than the same group is dependent upon them.

If you would like to change this there are several methods:

1. Advocate for financial literacy, responsibility, and accounting as core classes to teach young people alongside math and writing.

2. Allow for the option to invest your SS account into the private market. To an extent the medical welfare side could be converted over into HSAs which receive regular contributions.

3. Switch from an income tax to a sales tax which will both allow for an employee to keep every penny s/he earns as well as control his/her tax-burden while encouraging a community's do-it-yourself-ism through gardens, time banks, and sharing programs which would avoid the sales tax.

No one solution is going to be a magic bullet, it has to be a cultural and holistic approach. But, until this lower-class you speak of learns how to and then participates in the market there will be no grand, sweeping economic change like so many wish to see. It will just be a lot of hand-wringing, angst, and treading water.

AFTERTHOUGHT EDIT: While said a bit sarcastically yet thoughtfully, but not to undermine my sincere and honest points above, we could always mandate that everyone has to buy life insurance just as they do health insurance. After all they are guaranteed to die someday. Fill in other parallels to the Supreme Court case but if it works for one, it can work for the other.

That would create a large amount of inter-generational wealth I suppose?

The Big Dog's back



Number 2 is not the way to go!

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Why not?


Free rent through Metro or HUD, child support if she is lucky,mommy and daddy's financial help, welfare money, welfare medical, welfare food card, and WIC. She played the unprotected sex game and lost but now she needs to grow up. So does the father. They do not need to be together but they need to financially support and raise this kid. It is nobody else's job to do so. If she can't then she should give the child up for adoption to those who can and will. No wonder our government is broke. Such entitlement attitudes and lack of responsibility for their own actions. Always wanting someone else to pick up the pieces after their poor choices.


Happy: Our government is broke because Republicans have continued to cut its income, while needs remained the same and while costs of running the government went up. The wealthy used to pay 70% tax rate until Reagan came along. He cut it to 20% and by the end of his 2nd term had turned a budget surplus into a huge deficit. Bush 2 basically paid for nothing. He CUT taxes while adding 2 wars, a stimulus program and added Medicare funding to the county's credit card. Those caused FARRRRRRRRRRRR bigger economic issues than several million poor people on welfare ever could. People really need to stop blaming poor people for problems caused mostly by the wealthy and the political party that kowtows to the 1%...


Do you ever do research on anything or do you always just shoot from the hip? Since 1980 the percentage of revenue coming into the treasury as a percentage of GDP his went up considerably save for an occasional one year dip here and there.

So now lets talk about Reagan shall we? The surplus turned to a deficit not because of the tax cut but because of the huge defense expenditures related to the Cold War. In fact from the time Reagan took office until he left, the revenues to the treasury as a percent of GDP increased from 31.77 to 32.86 with a couple of years of it being above 33. The two highest years where it was over 36, one was during Clinton's Presidency and the other during George Bush's Presidency. Kinda shoots your pull it out of your backside bologna out of the water, huh?