Teen Pregnancies Rise: How About Those Abstinence Programs? genre: Hip-Gnosis & Little Red Ribbon-Hood & Uncivil Unions

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I'm not sure what it will take for our government to admit that abstinence education isn't working. Fortunately, George Bush will soon leave office and we can hope that the next president will restore science to its proper place and put an end to the myth that purity pledges are an effective means of birth control.

In the meantime, a new government report shows that the teen pregnancy rate rose for the first time in 15 years...a testament to seven years of relegating comprehensive sex education and contraception to the back burner.

From Fox News:

Between 2005 and 2006, the number of teenage girls between the ages 15 to 17 having babies rose by more than 5,700 to 138,920, from a record low of 133,138, according to an annual report on the health and well-being of children and teens published by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics.

The 4 percent increase in the teen pregnancy rate is cause for concern among health professionals.

"This is one of the key indicators for the health of the teen population," said Edward Sondik, director of the National Center for Health Statistics, during a conference call with the media. "Not only does this affect teen health at this point, but their health and well-being for the next 20 to 40 years, and the health and well-being of their children."

Now I'm sure the religious right will do their best to refute those who will undoubtedly claim that this report provides evidence that abstinence only education is a failure. Unfortunately for the wingers, the report offered another key piece of information that may make it rather difficult to hold the line on the benefits of abstinence.

While teen pregnancy is up, the percentage of teens having sex has remained stable for the past few years at 46 percent, according to the report.

So here's the bottom line. The same number of teens are engaging in sex, however more of them are getting pregnant. Care to venture an explanation? Clearly, as I've long argued, teens, in predictable numbers, will continue to have sex regardless of promising to abstain...and when they do so absent comprehensive sex education, inclusive of contraceptive measures, the number of pregnancies is certain to increase.

Fox News, in a move that once again shows their propensity for bias, chose to add the views of one of their contributors in an effort to offer an alternate explanation for the rise in teen pregnancies.

Teen pregnancy has been a hotly debated subject in recent weeks with the birth of 17-year-old Jamie Lynn Spears' daughter and reports that a pact among Gloucester, Mass., teens may have resulted in the pregnancies of 17 high school students.

Dr. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist and FOX News contributor, said the recent reversal in the trend of declining teen pregnancy is a grave concern. He said young people, especially girls, are looking for ways to connect with themselves and others in an "increasingly technology-driven world." One way to do that is to have a baby.

"It's not pretty and we really need a public health response that's very vigorous to counteract this," he said. "Ultimately, the gravest long-term consequence is that we have babies being nurtured by mothers who really can't provide them with what they need.

"And that's really a self-centered act. You've basically declared that it's all about you. Those people who are [acting] in this way may be the worst role models."

Oh yes, the rise in teen pregnancy is the fault of Hollywood and girls who are self-centered. In other words, my child would remain pure if it weren't for bad role models and selfish sluts. I guess that means that mom and dad are helpless to protect their children from cultural influences that are sure to overwhelm the values parents have instilled in their children.

I hate to break the bad news, but there's a problem with this logic. You see, we have that little issue of the constancy of the percentage of teens who are having sex to contend with. If recent culture is to be blamed, why aren't we seeing a larger percentage of teens engaging in sexual relations. Could it be that the desire to engage in sex, an innately constant construct of human nature, isn't all that susceptible to external influences...including the religious exhortations of parents and politicos who have likely chosen to forget their own sexual experimentations?

The study offered one other statistic that caught my attention.

From The Washington Post:

Another disturbing trend is the increase in violent crimes and homicides committed by adolescents, Sondik said.

"Homicides increased in 2005 for the first time since 1993," Sondik said. "In 2005, the firearm homicide rate also increased for the first time in more than a decade."

Adolescents aged 12 to 17 who committed violent crimes increased from 14 crimes per 1,000 in 2004 to 17 per 1,000 in 2005. This is still a substantially lower rate than was seen in 1993, when there were 52 violent crimes per 1,000 adolescents, the report stated.

So while the religious right rails against contraception and abortion, teens are harming each other with increasing frequency. In other words, these people are willing to spend time and money opposing sex education, contraception, and abortion while seemingly appearing tone deaf to teen violence.

Why is it that Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council aren't up in arms about teen violence? Why aren't they pushing their followers to vote for one politician over another based upon their respective plans to address teen violence? If all life is precious, why isn't the same energy being expended to protect the living?

I'll answer my own question. Well, sex sells...which means issues related to sexuality (orientation and promiscuity)...are cash cows that bring in the donations. It also serves to assure religious leaders and the GOP that they have a captive constituency. Besides, addressing violence might require a consideration of gun control...and that doesn't sell well with the Guns, God, and Gays gang.

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» Teen Pregnancies Rise: How About Those Abstinence Programs? from www.buzzflash.net
A new report suggests that the Bush administration’s focus on abstinence only education, combined with the religious right’s hesitancy to instruct teens about contraception, may be facilitating a rise in teen pregnancies. Teen violence is also on the r... [Read More]

Tracked on July 11, 2008 2:29 PM


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