In 2006, for the first time since 1991, the teenage birthrate rose in the United States. The rate went up three percent. The increase was highest among black teenagers, but there were increases among white and Latino teens as well. What’s more, the U.S. rate remains far higher than other industrialized countries. Looking at the numbers and making some logical deductions makes it easy to see why:
“[T]eenage sex rates have risen since 2001 and condom use has dropped since 2003. Abortion rates have held steady for a decade, although numbers from 2005 and 2006 are not available.”
So, abortions hold steady, condom use goes down and sex rates are up. Seems like a no-brainer that such a situation would lead to more pregnancy.
But it’s not. Because, despite the Democratic Congress, the U.S. still spends about $176 million annually on abstinence only “education” programs that don’t work. Abstinence only programs don’t keep teens from having sex, and, what’s worse, they leave kids (who are still having sex) without the tools to prevent pregnancy and STDs. The Heritage Foundation helpfully calls blaming abstinence only education for rising teen pregnancy rates “stupid” (they prefer to blame the women themselves). But it’s not stupid. It doesn’t take much to be able to see that there might – just might – be a connection between not teaching kids how to use a condom and a rising pregnancy rate. We need to stop living in a la-la-land where teenagers’ hormones can be tamed (or should be tamed) and get back to reality. Sex isn’t bad. Kids need to know how to have sex safely. Because teens are going to have sex. As much as they can.