Getting Them Young
It’s taken a while for me to get to it, but it’s still worth noting a surprisingly high-profile, front-page, Sunday Journal article by Jennifer Jordan:
About 40 girls under the age of 15 become pregnant each year in Rhode Island.
The number of girls ages 10 to 14 who become pregnant is substantially lower than for older teens. But it underscores the need for better sex education in middle school and at home, say health and education officials.
“This is a public health issue,” said Miriam C. Inocencio, president of Planned Parenthood of Rhode Island. “We should not be seeing kids this age getting pregnant, many of whom don’t have enough information and don’t know any better.”
Dr. Patricia Flanagan, who heads the Rhode Island Teen Pregnancy Coalition, says that while most youth are not sexually active in middle school, adults should ask themselves if they are doing enough to talk to young teenagers and make sure they understand the consequences of being sexually active.
Throughout the rather long
unpaid advertisement news report, there is not a single indication that any trend or shift suggests that increased sex ed for kids is warranted, let alone necessary. Indeed, according to the Planned Parenthood–friendly Guttmacher Institute, in 2000, that 40 girls was 60 (PDF). In other words, the rate is, if anything, dropping. And it fell without programs. Without workshopper “skills.” It fell without training, condoms, or pills. (Apologies to Dr. Seuss.)
A cynical reader might muse — as an appropriately skeptical reporter might pursue — that the teen pregnancy, family planning, safe sex, abortion industry has a financial incentive to expand its base, even if it’s not socially necessary. Even if it’s not culturally advisable. Get them realizing that they need your products and services young — that’s the game, and parents shouldn’t be comforted by the industry’s assertions that the kids won’t be spurred to wonder what it needs them for.