Teen Pregnancy Rates Too Low, CDC Wants to Change That

A little background here: Have you ever heard of the DARE program? It is supposed to educate children to resist the temptation to do drugs.

It doesn’t work.

Actually, that isn’t quite accurate: at best, it doesn’t work. At worst it actually makes the students more likely to experiment with drugs.

Apparently, exposing children to the idea of drug use for extended periods of time tends to make them more intrigued by the idea.

But people insist on continuing the program. For example:

“In Houston, Texas, where a study showed a shocking 29% increase in drug usage and a 34% increase in tobacco usage among students participating in DARE, the police chief defended it by saying he would use the results to ‘fine-tune the program to better serve the children.'” And he unashamedly promoted spending $3.7 million on DARE in the city.

With that in mind, let’s consider the CDC’s response to historically low unwed teen pregnancy rates.

From NBC News: “Record Low Teen Birth Rate Not Low Enough, CDC Says.”

The number of young teens having babies has plummeted by two-thirds since 1991, but still, 1,700 girls aged just 15 to 17 deliver babies every week in the U.S., federal officials reported Tuesday.

Why? Ignorance, mostly — they’re not talking to their parents, they’re not being properly educated about birth control and when they do try to use it, they use the least effective methods, such as condoms alone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

There are giant state-by-state differences in the birth rates, as well as ethnic differences, showing that good education and good parenting can help keep young girls safe from pregnancy, CDC experts said. Failed abstinence-only programs in states such as Texas and Mississippi are helping keep those states at the very top of the teen birth rate list, other experts said.

The article linked to abstinence programs is this 2009 story that has nothing to do with abstinence education but claims religious and conservative states have a higher teen pregnancy rate. At the very end of the article you find out that the study fails to distinguish between married teens and unmarried teens. So the study doesn’t tell us anything.

In the meantime, the Obama Administration used their power over federal funds to fight against Texas’ abstinence programs.

Dr. Freda M. Bush, president and CEO of the Medical Institute for Sex Health, says she’s very disappointed with the direction the Obama administration has taken regarding funding for abstinence-only programs in Texas public schools.

“We had a program in El Paso that was very successful at reducing teen pregnancy, and the federal funding was completely cut even though there were two years left. It was discontinued last year even though the teen birthrates are lower than before we started the program,” said Bush.

Bush says the success of the El Paso school program, which was taught to middle school and high school students, resulted from the combination of encouraging emotional and mental aspects of healthy behaviors and including a parental component.

“We advocate and teach risk avoidance. We know that if teens refrain from having sex, then it lowers the incidence of pregnancies and STDs by 100 percent, and this leads to healthier relationships and lives,” Bush explained.

The CDC is claiming that it will further reduce teen pregnancy if we start sex education earlier. “Among teen girls who were sexually experienced, 83% told interviewers that they didn’t get formal sex education until after they’d lost their virginity.” Why rely on the memory of the girls? Why not just look up what the education policy is (or was) in their state? The story makes no mention of those who started at 17 saying something different than those who started at 15. What state delays sex ed until a girl has turned 17? That makes no sense.

So what is a non-abstinence-based education program and what can we expect to result? I’ve written about one particular instance. Here’s another  example:

Two major school districts are employing “sex apps” and sites to help kids access contraception and STD testing and share STD test results with potential partners, all while bypassing parents.

In New York City and Los Angeles, students are reminded they don’t need their parents’ consent or, in New York, even to inform them their children are receiving these services.

Teens as young as 13 can download qpid.me (pronounced “cupid me”), a web app that encourages STD testing and allows users to share their results with potential partners. Los Angeles United School District (LAUSD) made the app available in fall 2013 to health teachers, who teach the district’s 200,000 7-12th grade students once in middle and once in high school.

The New York City Health Department is sponsoring NYC Teen, a web page that helps teens find services such as free morning-after pills or abortion counseling at Planned Parenthood without parental input.

The messaging of the website is quite obvious: “Everyone deserves to have sex.” What kind of behavior do you think this will promote? Given the failure rate of real contraceptives, what do you think are the chances that a teen converted to promiscuity through Federally-backed peer pressure is going to have to deal with a pregnancy?

Essentially, the CDC has told us that the pregnancy rate for teens needs to be made higher.