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.

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16 years ago

You forgot to close that italics tag, Justin.
I’d love to see a study where they go to places that had NO sex ed for a period of time and then started sex ed and see if the rates of teen sex and pregnancy went up or down. I know from personal experience that I was still fumbling around quite incompetently at 14 in an area of the country where there was NO sex ed until sophomore year in high school.

16 years ago

I would agree with you, except I would replace the words “cynical reader” with “realistic reader”.
Anytime you have a multi-billion dollar market, there will be people trying expand it.
It’s not just big, bad “corporate” America. Doctors care about how much they make per procedure, newspaper companies care about how many papers they sell, TV networks care about ratings so they can charge more for ads and non-profits care about how much money they can raise. Failure to care about the bottom leads to eventual extinction. Companies go out of business, non-profits fail, etc.
The family planning/abortion industry is unique in that the vast majority of Americans would prefer that abortions never be needed. So the abortion industry has to outwardly claim that abortion is “tragic”, but that it must be kept “available” for women in “terrible” situations.
It’s not too different than cigarette companies “warning” of the dangers of smoking while at the same time employing more nuanced marketing to develop new markets.
Anyone who has done cursory research into the abortion issue knows the majority of money earned in the industry comes not because the life of the mother is in danger, rape or incest, or even because a woman made a single poor choice. Most of the money generated comes from repeat abortions performed as a means of birth control.
You don’t have to be cynical to think this. You just have to look at the statistics.

16 years ago

“in 2000, that 40 girls was 60”
And in 2001 – wasn’t that about the time the Bush admin introduced abstinence only programs? Then the rate dropped by one third. H’mmm …

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