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Reality TV leads to decline in teenage abortion - study

Monday 19 Nov 2012 11:04 p.m.

By Jenny Suo

Sexed up reality TV gets a bad rap for what it allegedly teaches our impressionable teens, but a report from the Abortion Supervisory Committee says far from having a negative impact shows like Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant could be responsible for a drop in teen pregnancy rates.

“Some people were concerned that reality shows might glamorise pregnancy and young people might think this looks lovely having these beautiful babies but  it looks like it may have had a very positive effect,” says Dr Christine Roke of Family Planning.

The number of teenage births in New Zealand has dropped steadily over the last few years. This year ending in June there were 3961 teen births, down 286 from last year.

The number of teenage abortions has also dropped.

The Abortion Supervisory Committee suggests that the drop in both numbers could be attributed to teenagers watching certain scenes play out on their television screens.

Family Planning's national medical advisor says she's noticed teenagers are becoming smarter about safe sex.

“Many young people who come in are very well aware of what they should be doing for contraception,” says Dr Roke.

And that may be condoms, the pill, or a good dose of reality television.

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