Religiously conservative states = high teen births
    September 24 2009 by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press

    PHILADELPHIA — Teenage birth rates tend to be higher in states that are more religiously conservative, possibly because communities in those places discourage contraception, according to a national study.

    An article in the open-access journal Reproductive Health reported a high correlation between births to teenagers and states where high percentages of the population subscribe to conservative religious views, such as, “There is only one way to interpret the teachings of my religion” or, “Scripture should be taken literally, word for word.”

     Drexel University psychiatrist Joseph Strayhorn said he and co-author Jillian Strayhorn were “astonished” by the strong correlation between teenage births and religious beliefs, even after the figures were adjusted for other factors like differing abortion rates and income levels between states.

    The authors compared information on religiosity from the 2007 U.S. Religious Landscapes Survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life with teen-birth and abortion statistics that came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Mississippi, where more than half of the population self-identifies as being Baptist, topped the list for both conservative religious beliefs and teen-birth rates. At the bottom of the list, New Hampshire ranked last in teen pregnancy and trailed only Vermont in religiosity.

    Strayhorn said it would be a mistake to apply the statewide totals to individuals and draw a conclusion like “religious teens get pregnant more often,” but he said the findings do suggest “that religious communities in the U.S. are more successful in discouraging the use of contraception among their teenagers than they are in discouraging sexual intercourse itself.”

    Strayhorn admitted that a preference for abstinence-only sex education in conservative communities is just one plausible explanation. He said one factor might be that people in more liberal states tend to delay marriage, while teen marriage is more common in the South.

    Strayhorn also said that on an individual level, some teen pregnancies are desirable and that some teen parents carry out their responsibilities very well. But since studies have found children of teenage mothers tend to have higher rates of several unfavorable mental-health outcomes than other children, he said in general that “it is probably true that public policies or cultural practices that reduce the overall rate of teen births are, other things equal, desirable.”

    The article is set to appear in an upcoming issue of Reproductive Health, the official journal of the Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research. It is also affiliated with the International Association for Maternal and Neonatal Health.

    (EDITOR’S NOTE — Allen is senior writer for Associated Baptist Press.)

    9/24/2009 2:01:00 AM by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press | with 3 comments




Comments
Gene Scarborough
For one thing, the states most religiously conservative tend to be in the South where once we said slavery was not against the Bible. Among minorities sexual activity is high and our welfare rolls are full of people with an eye to income from illigimate babies.

Second, our super religious youth have the same sexual drives as everyone else, but tend to deny them. In psychological terms this is schizoprenia or reaction-formation psychosis. In common terms--the more we deny our inner selves and drives, the more Satan uses them to trip us up!

Some years ago, I talked with a daughter of one of our Baptist notables in ethics who was a youth SS teacher and private school leader as well as youth leader in her church. My question was simple: "How do you handle the horny teenagers in your church and school?"

Her answer was naive, in my opinion: "We have a course which teaches them to be more responsible." If "teaching them responsibility in classes" were so effective, then why, despite the school sex course, are more teens sexually active?

"True Love Waits" is a marvelous idea, but what happens when those taking the vows become overraught down the dirt road where kids go to hug and kiss? They only have a far more guilty conscience and throw all their promises out the window to get rid of the guilt!

Add to this the constant bombardment from Brittany Spears and Mily Silas seductive stuff on girls, and you have them calling boys these days incessantly because girls come to puberty about 2 years before boys. Mommas---control those daughters and stop this seduction! Why do they need a cell phone to harass boys with text messages all day long?

It's not just a game without consequences. Pregnancy before marriage is far too common and it doesn't happen just because the youth group reads its Bible and prays fervently without any thought of sex. Hormones are hormones and girls are having their periods 3 years earlier than they used to before McDonalds / Chick-Fil-A / Purdue / etc. animal feeds being shot full of growth accelerating hormones.

We bring it on ourselves and our children through naive practices and bad adult examples. If a wise parent teaches their children the facts of life, they won't be so inquisitive to find out for themselves---in the 3rd Grade, for goodness sake!
9/25/2009 8:00:35 AM

Alan Davis
Woops! Forgot something here. Even though the article says they adjusted for the abortion rate being that the writers are certainly not privy to that information and many will go unreported the study lacks real sci. data
9/24/2009 7:12:26 PM

Alan Davis
Could it be that in those states the young ladies are encouraged to carry their baby to term? I would dare say that in the other states those who abort may be higher.
9/24/2009 7:09:41 PM

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