WASHINGTON—Squashing any fears that they might have lost it, a 3 percent increase in teen pregnancy rates positively confirmed Tuesday that America's teenagers still have it and, in some cases, are rocking it harder than ever.
According to a report by the National Center for Health Statistics, the increase reverses nearly two decades of plummeting teen pregnancy rates, which had caused many to fear that teens had lost what it takes to get the job done.
But a sharp increase in birthrates among the under-20 population proves that teens across the nation still got the goods.
"Teens are back," said Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, noting that 26 states experienced a significant increase in teen pregnancies for the first time since 2004. "Any questions about whether or not our teens were past their prime or could no longer bring the heat have been answered. We never should have doubted them."
"What can I say?" Sebelius added. "When you got it, you got it."
Researchers at the NCHS said the findings demonstrated that teens still have a lot left in the tank. The report stated that, for every 1,000 girls between the ages of 15 and 19, there are 71.5 pregnancies, a figure indicating that teenagers are once again locked, loaded, and ready to roll.
The report also found that, despite initial concerns that abstinence-only programs were robbing teens of their natural ability to bring it, these Bush-era initiatives have actually reinvigorated the sexually active group, allowing them to dig deep and strut their stuff like never before.
"A lack of proper education definitely helped them find the flow," Sharon Grimaldi, a policy expert at the Centers for Disease Control, told reporters. "So we should expect to see that pattern continue. However, the most important lesson we need to take away from these findings is this: American teenagers have it, they always will have it, and not only that, they know exactly what to do with it."
Added Grimaldi, "These statistics indicate that teens are basically like, 'Boom! Check us out now!'"
According to the report, teens of every race and socioeconomic group remain more than capable of sealing the deal in a big way. More than 4 percent of white teenagers, thought to have lost it a long time ago, have apparently found it and are taking it to a whole new level. In addition, roughly 12 percent of African-American and Hispanic teens are showing us they're really in it to win it.
On a state-by-state level, statistics were equally encouraging. New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, and Texas, with pregnancy rates more than 25 percent higher than the national average, boast teens who came back with so much thunder it's like they never left. Unfortunately, the report indicated that New England teens have either lost it, aren't feeling it, or may have never had it in the first place, evidenced by a 2 percent dip in the number of 15-to-19-year-old girls who have gotten pregnant.
While many are impressed by the overall results, some officials have pointed out that teens are still a long way away from being the lean mean teen machines they once were.
"It would be unrealistic to think that we could get back to the levels of the late 1980s," said Bill Corr, deputy secretary of Health and Human Services. "Not only did those teens have it, but they flaunted it and made us all wish we had it like that, too."
"Still, it's safe to say this is more than just a blip on the radar," Corr added. "And next year we'll be able to tell you that, not only are teens back, but they're here to stay."