Roundup: Study Shows High Correlation Between Teen Pregnancy and “Religiosity” In US States

U.S. states whose residents have more conservative religious beliefs on average tend to have higher rates of teenagers giving birth, according to a new study forthcoming in the journal Reproductive Health.

The study examined publicly accessible data on birth rates,
conservative religious beliefs, income, and abortion rates in the U.S.,
aggregated at the state level. Data on teen birth rates and abortion
originated from the Center for Disease Control; on income, from the
U.S. Bureau of the Census, and on religious beliefs, from the U.S.
Religious Landscape Survey carried out by the Pew Forum on Religion and
Public Life.

The results?

  • Increased religiosity in residents of states in the U.S. strongly
    predicted a higher teen birth rate.

  • Religiosity correlated negatively with median household income, and income correlated negatively with teen birth rate. But the correlation between religiosity and teen birth rate
    remained highly significant even when controlling for income.

  • Abortion rate
    correlated negatively with religiosity. However,
    the partial correlation between teen birth rate and religiosity
    remained high and significant when controlling for abortion rate and when controlling for both
    abortion rate and income.


The study’s authors conclude:

relationship could be due to the fact that communities with such
religious beliefs (a literal interpretation of the Bible, for instance)
may frown upon contraception, researchers say. If that same culture isn’t successfully discouraging teen sex, the pregnancy and birth rates rise.

topped the list for conservative religious beliefs and teen birth
rates, according to the study results.

ACLU Acts to Preserve Access to Reproductive Health Services in Kentucky

The Kentucky Post reports that the ACLU has filed a complaint to help low-income and uninsured
patients in Northern Kentucky receive certain reproductive services. 

Northern Kentucky, low-income or uninsured patients can receive family
planning services like birth control at a clinic thanks to Title Ten, a
federal government grant.  But access to such services has been declining over the past year in this region of the state due to the merger of St. Luke hospitals with St. Elizabeth hospitals.  St. Lukes has been the largest provider for the health department, but when the two merged, services were eliminated since St. Elizabeth is a Catholic hospital.

In response, the ACLU suit asks that:

"[T]he Cabinet of Health and Family Services…conduct a
hearing into the unlawful termination of services at the hospital and
for St. Luke Hospitals to fully restore access to reproductive health
services in Northern Kentucky," said Derek Selznick, an ACLU Attorney
based out of Louisville, Ky.

In the meantime, the health
department is trying to work with hospitals outside of Northern
Kentucky to allow the procedures to take place.  Deals are reportedly close to final with Christ Hospital in Mt. Auburn
and Georgetown Hospital in Georgetown, Ky.



Catholic Exchange: Vatican Newspaper Gushes over Pro-Abortion Tony Blair

OneNewsNow: Pro-life group’s demise ‘grossly overrated’

Catholic Online: Amendment to Bar Abortion in Health Care Bill?

In the News UK: Alcohol-fuelled sex leading to STIs and pregnancy


Feminists for Choice: The intersection of pro-life and pro-choice

USA Today: 250 attend memorial for slain abortion foe in Michigan

Bloomberg: African Condom Shortage Said to Worsen Climate Impact

Jackson Free Press: State Sued over ‘Abstinence’

KY Post: ACLU Files Complaint On Behalf Of NKy Residents

Trib Star: Planned Parenthood offering some birth control pills at half price

MedPage Today: Religious Beliefs No Barrier to Teen Pregnancy

Examiner New York: ACLU offers free reproductive rights panel October 1 in Sonoma County, CA

LifeSiteNews: Pro-Life "Live Action" Investigator behind ACORN Sex-Racketeering Exposé

Tacoma Weekly: Bridging the pro-life/pro-choice divide

FRC Blog: Missing “Manly” Fish and Population Control

Reuters: Family Research Council: Senator Baucus Undermines President Obama’s Abortion Funding…

MSNBC: Teen birth rates highest in most religious states

Baptist Press: Pro-life women target 12 in Congress

U.S. News & World Report: What Will the Baucus Healthcare Plan Mean for Abortion?

LifeNews: Analysis Finds Baucus Health Care Bill Contains Abortion Subsidies, Mandates

U.S. News & World Report: Senate Bill Could Increase Abortion Coverage

LifeNews: Disputed Virginia Poll Shows Pro-Abortion Deeds Catching Pro-Life McDonnell

NRO: Busting A Myth About Roe v. Wade.

BeliefNet: The Baucus Health Care Bill on Abortion — Full Text

PolitickerNJ: Planned Parenthood endorses Corzine


HuffPo: Anti-Abortion Group Politicizes Memorial of Slain Pro-Life Activist
HuffPo: Straight Talk About Health Care Reform and Abortion

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  • njinflag

    I believe that another factor that must be considered is the fact that abstinence-only education is what is being taught in more conservative and probably religious parts of the U.S. Research studies show that teens who participated in ab-only ed are just as likely to become sexually active at the same average age as those who did not receive ab-only education.

  • crowepps

    The studies also show that teens who participated in abstinence only education are less likely to use contraceptives.

  • progo35

    Wait-you mean that the teenagers who make mistakes in those communities and get pregnant when their birth control fails or they forget to use it ACTUALLY CARRY THOSE PREGNANCIES TO TERM? Oh, the horror…

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • sschoice

    While we havent really taken apart the Reproductive Health journal article Religiosity and teen birth rate in the United States, there’s at least two implications to the conclusion that "Increased religiosity in residents of states in the U.S. strongly predicted a higher teen birth rate" which deserve at least a closer look, if not criticism.


    One, in the study abstract, at least, the word "conservative" is used almost equivalently with "religious", without exploring that there may exist counterpoints which are less "conservative" but no less "religious".  We wonder if the data were to break out a difference between teens who had relatively liberal religious beliefs vs relatively conservative religious beliefs if the liberals, in so many words, might be somewhat less likely to become pregnant, at least unintentionally, as they might be more likely to use contraception reliably, assuming they chose to do so, of course.


    While "conservative" and "religious" seem to go together in the study, the study doesn’t differentiate between "conservative" and "liberal" religious beliefs.  We haven’t looked at the Pew Study which this report references for it’s data set on religiosity to see if it makes that differentiation, it would be interesting to explore, because it may not be so much whether a teen is religious or not but their belief in socially conservative values independent of religion or political positions which may either disincline teens to use contraception reliably when they are sexually active or to not seek abortion if they become pregnant.


    The report cites eight questions which, depending on the extent to which they are answered affirmatively, measures "religiousity" but clearly doesn’t differentiate between someone who would have religiously conservative (perhaps anti-contraception, which might at least be proposed to go together with someone who is personally strongly religiously conservative) values and someone who is less so:


    1) Belief in a God or universal spirit: Absolutely Certain.

    2) There is only one way to interpret the teachings of my religion.

    3) Scripture should be taken literally, word for word.

    4) How important is religion in your life: Very Important.

    5) My religion is the one true faith leading to eternal life.

    6) Frequency of attendance at religious services: at least once a week.

    7) Frequency of prayer: at least once a day.

    8) How often do you receive a definite answer to a specific prayer request: at least once a month.


    Questions like 2, 3, and 5 above suggest that one has fundamentalist religious values, but not necessairly conservative religious values.  One might consider oneself to be devoutly religious and answer "yes" to those and other questions here, and perhaps even self-describe oneself as fundamentalist, without subscribing to the stereotypes, anyway, that many people have of religious conservatives.


    On another point, the study says (from the abstract) that "we conjecture conservative religious communities in the U.S. are more successful in discouraging use of contraception among their teen community members than in discouraging sexual intercourse itself." Teens in these conservative relgious communities in the states referenced with high teen pregnancy rates may become pregnant and choose (however inevitable the choice may seem to be) to carry the pregnancy to term, and so increase the teen birth rate which the study uses as it’s dependent variable more frequently than less conservative communities or states, but it may as much be because teens with so-called conservative religious beliefs are more likely to feel that if they do become pregnant and try to carry their pregnancy to term that they will be more supported in doing so, maybe even directly by that conservative relgious community that they live in.  People of comparatively liberal religious faith can be (and usually are, we think) just as accepting and supportive as people of conservative faith can be of teen parents, though as liberal churches may be smaller and do less "PR" to include more teen parents in their flock it may not seem that way.


    There’s surely clearer, more scientifically valid ways to make this critique than what we’ve quickly written here, but some of this should make sense to readers here. 


    –southern students for choice, athens

  • rexracer
  • rexracer
  • zenobia

    i think that is due to lack of abstinence education and don’t depend on religiosity