Why reporting adolescent births is insufficient…
Adolescent births in Australia have fallen to an all-time low of 10 births per 1000 15-19-year-olds. However, the lack of national data means that we cannot tell whether this decrease reflects lower rates of conception or higher rates of abortion.
Monitoring the missing half: why reporting adolescent births is insufficient, a paper published in MJA and co-written Dr Jennifer Marino, an Honorary Fellow at the Centre for Adolescent Health and a Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne and the Centre’s director, Professor Susan Sawyer.
The paper reviews what is known in Australia about adolescent pregnancy outcomes, and details the ways we could collect and use more complete data while protecting the privacy of young patients. A snapshot of legal status and accessibility of abortion in the states and territories is also included.
Only two states (Western Australia and South Australia) publish complete pregnancy outcome data (births, losses, abortions). The cost, legal status and accessibility of abortion vary among states and territories, so these limited state data present an incomplete picture of adolescent pregnancy.
Reporting from Western Australia and South Australia provides models for a national public health surveillance system. Greater understanding of adolescent pregnancy outcomes would help tailor interventions for vulnerable adolescents, including interventions that facilitate access to quality schooling and alleviate poverty.
Marino, J. L., & Sawyer, S. M. (2019). Monitoring the missing half: why reporting adolescent births is insufficient. Medical Journal of Australia, 210(5), 198-201.
MJA Podcasts 2019 Episode 12: Importance of national abortion data, with Dr Jennifer Marino and Prof Susan Sawyer
Dr Jennifer Marino, an Honorary Fellow at the Centre for Adolescent Health and a Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne. Professor Susan Sawyer is Chair of Adolescent Health at the University of Melbourne. They discuss the importance of collecting national abortion data. With MJA news and online editor, Cate Swannell. 23mins 6 secs