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We excluded six of these young mothers because of missing information on key variables, which resulted in a final sample of 673 15-17-year-olds.In all of the results presented, we weighted the data to adjust for the NMIHS sampling design and nonresponse.Our analysis uses data from the National Maternal and Infant Health Survey (NMIHS), which was conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics from 1988 to 1991.(The analysis by Landry and Forrest used the same data set.) The NMIHS is a nationally representative follow-back survey of women aged 15-49 who had had a live birth, fetal death or infant death in 1988.Table 1 (page 62) describes the statutory provisions prohibiting sexual intercourse between adults and minors aged 15-17 for five states with the greatest annual number of births.Only statutes that describe felony offenses are included.Although Landry and Forrest provided a number of measures of age-gaps between fathers and mothers, often just one combination is cited—that of mothers aged 15-19 with partners aged 20 or older; in their study, 65% of 15-19-year-old mothers had a partner aged 20 or older.Grouping together 15-19-year-olds and their partners ages 20 and older may misrepresent the issue of adolescents bearing children with older men.
For example, California's Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Act of 1995 created harsh penalties for statutory rape that results in pregnancy.
Furthermore, the act earmarks special state funds to expand the prosecution of adult men who father children with minors.
In this article, we present data that examine closely the role of older men in teenage childbearing.
In three of the five states examined, the statutory provisions do not even apply to 17-year-old women, but to those 16 and younger.
The minimum age difference required for a felony offense ranges from three to seven years, with Florida not specifying an age restriction for men who engage in sexual intercourse with women younger than 16.