Caveat: This post was written by a 34 year old, unmarried male. The author has not fathered any children (that he has been made aware of)
Today's Investor's Business Daily had the following blurb:
Teen birth rate fell 5.4% in '01
The U.S. rate fell to 48.5 births per 100 women ages 15-19. It was the 10th straight drop and the lowest level recorded, the Centers for Disease Control found. Abortions also dipped in '98
Personally, I find this very disturbing. granted the numbers also seem (IMHO) obscene. Fortunately (and as inspired by fiannaharpar I opted to verify my data.
The actual HHS Report states:
The rate dropped 5% from 48.5 to 45.9
Thus number is births per 1,000 females.
(Mine: 45.9/1000 == 1 in 21.79)
The rate has dropped 26% since 1991
Well, when I read the IBD stat, I nearly tossed my cookies.
Finding the real stat has made me less outraged.
None the less... I look at the average sized class room as 35 students. This stat says that you are more than likely (translation: 35 students, assume 17.5 females, at 1 in 21.79 = 80%+) to find one student pregnancy in any classroom of that size with students between the ages of 15 and 19.
I have known so many <20 year olds who have found themselves with children and watched what has happened to them. the lost child hood; the lack of a chance to really find self identity until much later in life; if they even get that chance.
I understand fully, there was a time when an 18-19 year old was fully expected to raise a child. Granted at that time middle-age was 22. I am terrified of the percentage of these births that may be labelled 'single mothers.' Further I am terrified at the percentage of these <20 who will have more than one child by the time they are 22.
This is my dangerous part (Prepares flame retartdent clothing for onslaught):
Is there anything else we can and should be doing to educate and protect our daughters?!? The church's stance on anti-abortion and a man's right to procreate has become lost in the fact that we are losing children. Children that are unwillingly or at times willingly (though it's very hard at my age to believe a 15 year old really comprehends the ramifications of supporting a child) bringing new children into the world and are being tranformed into parents long before they can safely, sanely, or adequately care for these children.
I know that teens are sexual creatures as much as (and sometimes moreso than) their adult counterparts. We need to as a society not worry about the evils of sex and the philosophical or religious issues associated with these activities. There are wizened adults and clergy who still argue these points, are we really expecting our youth to understand these arguements?
We need to explain these issues to our children so they understand them. Make them understand the responsibilities that come out of the action of creating a life. The cost, the time, the debt, the mature understanding.
I believe children are more intelligent than we as adults give them credit. If we give them the confusing explanations that obfuscate the truth; they'll see thru it. If we lay it on the line...Maybe we can drive that number down even more.