WWW Opinion Times

Monday, November 15, 2004

Teen Birth Rates Lowest In Post-WWII America

Teen birth rates are the lowest in 58 years. Could this be evidence that abstinence education works? Or will radical feminists claim the victory?

I want to highlight Jeremy Pierce's comment on this post,
"Abortion may play a role also, so I'd be wary about concluding much."
Good thought, Jeremy. This may be one factor which any study may easily overlook, but statistics--from the Alan Guttmacher Institute of all places--show that abortion has been on the decline since about 1990. The seeming correlation between decreased teen pregnancy and abortion must have its nexus in better sex-education training centered increasingly around abstinence. Yet statistics from the Centers on Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show mixed trends among various types of sexually transmitted diseases (STD's). So what effect is abstinence education really having here?

Is the jury really out on the effects of abstinence programs? I believe the trend toward a moral approach to sexual advice in schools is having a positive impact. The Heritage Foundation asserts that abstinence education programs are effective in reducing rates of pregnancy and sexual activity among teens. According to the Washington Times, the CDC attributes 53% of a reduction in teen pregnancy to abstinence education in it's 2003 Youth Risk Behavior Survey released in May of this year. This is the bank of information from which the CDC made the statements I quoted above.

Encouraging moral behavior as definied in the Judeo-Christian ethic is helping to reign in the effects of the "Free Love" generation. There's a long way to go, but the push for abstinence education in the Christian community needs to continue.

Another area which must be addressed is a viable alternative to women's health clinics based on the Planned Parenthood model. I sat on the board of a Crisis Pregnancy Center, and I know the good work they can do for women while honoring the sanctity of human life. A national approach to ministering to the needs of women in crisis on the CPC model is very much overdue. In my opinion, it's the next step in addressing teen pregnancy and other ills brought upon the country in the wake of promiscuous 60's culture.