Posts Tagged ‘disturbing billboards

07
Dec
07

Teen Pregnancy: “It’s Not Rocket Science”

So, I’ve got a super Dad who supports my feministing. He probably gets a kick out of having a bit of a spitfire (albeit a mildly passive-aggressive spitfire) in the family who no doubt resembles his own ideals at a similar point in life. So he sends me articles that will intrigue, irritate (usually because they are about Bush), or irk me because he knows that, deep down inside, I’ve got a little curmudgeon just bustin’ out.

The latest article falls into the latter two categories. Oh, right, and it makes me irate, just to stick with the theme.

Shocker of the century: Births to teen mothers have risen for the first time since 1991. While the rest of us who either have vaginas or know anything about anything are jumping up and down in exasperation and frustration at the administration for lopping off comprehensive sex education in favor of unproven abstinence-only programs, the republicans are scratching their heads in a bit of confusion (see illustration below).

And the spin machine gets to work: “U.S. health officials said it was possibly a one-year statistical blip and not the beginning of a new upward trend.”

So, when your 15 year old daughter starts donning baggy clothes and you catch sight of a bit of a pooch you can just say “oh, honey, looks like you’ve got a little blip!” (There were an additional 20,000 blips born to teenage mothers in 2006.)

Interestingly enough, this “blip” coincides with similar “blips” for a few STI rates as well. Now, I know my stats and I know correlation is not causation, but I also know that trends are usually a sign of an underlying phenomena.

Which is why my new hero for the day is Dr. Carol Hogue, a researcher at Emory who, when asked to comment regarding the latest statistics said, “It’s not rocket science.”

Indeed, it isn’t rocket science. But in case any GOP officials need any help figuring out the whole equation I’ll lend a hand:

Abstinence-only “education” + Hormones + Hormones + Desire + No access to contraceptives + No condoms + Being taught that condoms don’t work = Unintended Teenage Pregnancy Rate Increase.

But my hunch is that there’s even a larger story here, one that will probably spawn (no pun intended) a movie, book, and made-for-tv miniseries in the next fifty years: the young women who find themselves willing to risk anything to not let their parents find out they are pregnant — whether by crossing state lines, inducing an abortion, or seeking back-alley abortions. Or, an even more subtle but damaging force: young men and women who are unable to understand how their desires can be explored in ways both safe and health.

On a related note: “Juno” is getting rave reviews for telling the story of a young woman who is pregnant while keeping the people and the drama front and center and the politics out of the picture. Interestingly, this is similar to the raves I heard about (but haven’t yet watched) “Knocked Up.”

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