Concerns about Slaughterhouse-Five, Speak, and Twenty Boy Summer highlight a deeper and more troubling belief -- that is, that young people should be prevented from exposure to anything that discusses sex and sexual activity in any way.
No doubt prenatal care, malnutrition, access to a hospital and skilled professionals could prevent most maternal deaths. But the squeamishness of talking about family planning -- in short sex -- is a no-no in many nations.
Teenage pregnancy isn't the epidemic. The lack of information and support for people to make healthy decisions about their lives is the true epidemic. The culture of shame and scapegoating around sex is the real problem.
Before the age of 20, 52% of Latina teens become pregnant at least once. At almost twice the national average, Latinas have the highest teen pregnancy and birth rates of any major ethnic group in the United States.
I worry about the slippery slope of social science research that too often treats gender and sexuality as static phenomenon, and young people as doomed to a fate only an adult can devise for them, or save them from.