Sunday, February 24, 2013

Teen Pregnancy Rate Highest in Rural (Conservative) Areas

Just as the evangelical Christians who blather the most about the "sanctity of marriage" have the highest divorce rates of any religious grouping in the country, so too rural - translate Republican - areas have the highest teen pregnancy rates.  Obviously, the children of the Bible beaters are not heeding their parents' supposed beliefs on chastity until marriage and the abstinence only sex education course so favored by the Christofascists.  And then there's the lack of availability of contraception and women's health clinics in these areas where they Christofascists seek to drive away programs that would provide meaningful means to reduce unwanted pregnancies.  The Des Moines Register has coverage on the findings of a new study.  Here are excerpts:

Nationally, the birth rate for U.S. teens has plunged to record low levels, but a new analysis shows that a disproportionate share of teen births are in rural communities.  In 2010, the birth rate for girls ages 15 to 19 in rural counties was 43 per 1,000, nearly one-third higher than the rate for metropolitan counties (33 per 1,000), says a report released Thursday.

"The prevailing stereotype is that teen parenthood is primarily an urban and suburban phenomenon," says Bill Albert, chief program officer for the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit. In fact, "the landscape of teen childbearing is more open spaces and fresh air than gridlock and high-rises," he says.

The results indicate that "the rates are far, far higher in rural areas compared to other parts of the country," he says. That suggests a greater need for efforts directed at helping rural teens avoid too-early pregnancy and parenthood.  Among findings from the analysis:

- Between 1990 and 2010, the birth rate among teens in rural counties declined by 32%, far less than in major urban centers (49%) and suburbs (40%).

- Rural counties account for one in five teen births; only 16% of teen girls live in rural counties.

- The teen birth rate is higher in rural counties than major urban centers for all ethnic and racial groups

What's behind the high rural teen birth rate? One factor is that even with all of the improvements in birth control methods, availability "lags far behind availability for teens living in urban and metro areas,"

Once again the lesson is clear:  if the Christofascists were serious about reducing teen pregnancies and abortions, they would support comprehensive sex ed programs and making contraception widely available.  Instead, they whine about the unborn while perpetuating the problem and typically not giving a damn about children once they are actually born.   Pretending in one's delusional mind that teens aren't having sex simply doesn't make it so.

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