In Teen Pregnancy, Poverty
As Much A Culprit As Education
In a San
Francisco Chronicle article highly worth your time, Jonathan Zimmerman
argues that neither abstinence-only proponents nor advocates for comprehensive
sexuality education are right about what will reduce the teen pregnancy rate. It’s poverty, not sex education (or lack
thereof) that causes teen pregnancy, he says. Zimmerman cites a study by University of Pennsylvania
sociologist Frank Furstenburg that found "generally unimpressive" results for
comprehensive sex ed programs. Other
researchers have found more promising results (Douglas Kirby in Emerging
Answers 2007), but regardless, Zimmerman posits a more foundational question
about why teen pregnancy is a problem:
Americans have it exactly backward.
Teen pregnancy doesn’t deprive our kids of life chances; instead, kids who lack
those chances are the ones who get pregnant…it seems that young women who have
a sense of power and confidence in their lives are more likely to use
contraception. Impoverished girls often lack that confidence, so they don’t
take measures to protect themselves. They are also less likely to have
abortions, which are often too expensive or heavily tabooed in poor communities.
While sex education won’t necessarily lift
teen girls out of poverty, it’s worth noting that developing self-esteem and learning tools relationship
building are parts of a comprehensive sex ed curriculum.
Watch has the story on Sarah Palin’s identity crisis (though it doesn’t
seem to trouble her) – which is she, party-bucking maverick or hardline
religious right adherent? "Lost in [the
religious right’s delight at Palin’s selection] is Palin’s apparent willingness
to utilize right-wing wedge issues when they suit her political needs and then
downplay them when they don’t."
has a handy run-down of all the ethics scandals this "reformer" is involved in already.
A Closer Look at the
Bodies, Our Blog has an excellent dissection of the Republican platform on a variety
of reproductive and sexual health issues, including its support for provider "conscience"
and for crisis pregnancy centers.
The GOP Two-Step
Voters, don’t be fooled! Powerless
surrogates like Cindy McCain may be suggesting that they aren’t quite as strongly
opposed to abortion and comprehensive sexuality education as the candidates
themselves are. It’s a deliberate
fake-out – let swing voters think an anti-choice candidate is married to a moderating
force. We know better: let’s not change our opinions of
the candidates until the candidates themselves pledge to support abortion
rights and comp sex ed.