Birth Control and Teenage Pregnancy
Published: April 18, 2012
An encouraging new report shows a big decline in the rate of teenage births. From 2009 to 2010, the birth rate among young women ages 15 to 19 fell 9 percent, to 34.9 per thousand, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is a record low for the 65 years that data have been available, and a remarkable 44 percent drop from the 1991 rate. This good shift is largely the result of an increase in teenagers’ use of birth control — a fact that Congressional Republicans ignore as they seek to dismantle reproductive health programs.
Some voices on the right unconvincingly assign credit for the latest change to abstinence-only sex education, even though the percentage of sexually active teenagers has remained fairly constant. Besides, some of the states with the highest teenage birth rates — like Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas — have policies that emphasize teaching abstinence over comprehensive sex education.
The GOP/teavangelists can’t wait to gut the funding for Planned Parenthood, for birth control education, and for the social safety nets.
The bible thumper icons, speaking from their media production studios, can’t wait to condemn birth control education. They repeatedly rail against the increasing percentages of out of wedlock pregnancies. Yet, their solution is to try to scare teenagers (and adults) with the concept of eternal punishment at the hands of some demonic entity, in some subterranean fortress of evil. Such threats have been around since the last time St. Paul ate moldy rye bread. Out of wedlock, pregnancies predate those threats by millennia.
The use of “abstinence only” “education” does not work. Tell hormonally driven teens that they must abstain from sex and scare them with religious mythos. The money spent on such idiocy will be wasted. Sex is enjoyable, pleasurable, and people will engage in sex whenever they are able. The threats flung about by the evangelists and other religious fanatics are easily trumped by hormonal imperatives.
There should be mention of other threats. The GOP/teavangelists voter base is under the sway of the American Taliban. They can’t wait to show their hatred of modern culture by punishing those women unfortunate enough to become pregnant while lacking some religious rubber stamp document of submission. In order to reinforce their dislike of single mothers, they can’t wait to punish them for their refusal to conform to the religious right’s demands.
The punishment that inflicts the worst pain is economic. They rush to eliminate food stamps, WIC nutrition programs, and day care, housing and health care assistance, to make life for single mothers and for poor families as difficult as possible. They repeatedly proclaim that they don’t care to pay for birth control for poor women. It offends their priggish, pious natures to think that poor people might be having sex and enjoying it. In order to punish those they believe guilty of “sin,” they fall under the thrall of the GOP/teavangelists who are doing everything possible to bring about a theocracy more repressive than that, which controls Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The American Taliban is engaged in spreading their mythos by economic warfare waged upon the working poor, the former middle class, and the unemployed. They are being forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term. They are being denied accurate and timely information about safe sex and access to birth control by religious hypocrites, they are being denied family planning help, starved, disposed, disenfranchised, evicted, denied health care and education in order to force compliance to a theocracy that is clearly un-Constitutional.
There is no biblical hell beneath the Earth’s surface. There is no Satan, no eternal damnation. But the American Taliban is doing all it can to create a living Hell on Earth for those who refuse to follow its archaic bigotry.