Red State Fail: Abstinence Only Education Leads To Highest Rates Of Teen Pregnancy In The Country

In yet another concrete example of how the right ignores reality in favor of harmful ideology, the latest statistics for teen pregnancy in the United States show a clear trend: traditionally red states that push abstinence only have the highest rates of teen pregnancy.

ThinkProgress reports:

This (2010, the most recent year with complete statistics)is the lowest national rate for teen births since the Centers for Disease Control began tracking it in 1940, and CDC officials attributed the decline to pregnancy prevention efforts. Other reports show that teenagers are having less sex and using contraception more often. Studies have backed this up. Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle found that teenagers who received some type of comprehensive sex education were 60 percent less likely to get pregnant or get someone else pregnant.(emphasis mine)

Comprehensive in this context means “more than the religiously motivated and wholly useless teaching of ‘don’t be a naughty sinner!'”

It is also important to note that a staple of conservative thought is that liberals are immoral, godless and sex craved and that we only want to teach our children to be whores and sluts. They demand that sexual education come from the home and only the home because all God-fearing parents will raise their children better than the gub’mint ever could. This has not been borne out by any real world experience whatsoever. The most “religious” states are the ones that consistently have the worst rates of teen pregnancy. Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia and so on, nine of the top ten states for teen pregnancy are in the Bible Belt (New Mexico is the outlier but they don’t require sex ed at all, with the same lousy results).

The truth is, parents tend to do a terrible job of teaching their kids about sex. The reasons for this are legion but teenagers are rife with dangerous misconceptions as detailed in The Virgin Diaries by Kimberley A. Johnson and Ann Werner:

Friends would say that the first time was going to be painful and that you would bleed once he “popped your cherry.” That there would be no way you could get pregnant the first time and that once you had sex, you would walk different. My favorite: if I didn’t have sex for a long time, I would be a virgin again.

You can be assured this was not taught in a classroom. Sometimes, parents are simply not equipped to do more than say “No,no,no! Sex is bad and you shouldn’t have any!” A tactic widely hailed as being 100% effective on teenagers similar to emptying the ocean with a teaspoon and just as useful. On the other hand, teaching the proper method of using contraception as well as thoroughly explaining the consequences of pregnancy and STDs seems to be quite effective in those godless, whorish blue states like New Hampshire that take their responsibilities seriously.

Don’t look for the bible Belt to suddenly wise up, though. Unthinking adherence to religious ideology always trumps common sense in Jayzusland.