On this 'National Day to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy,' I thought it would be a fun exercise to compare the sexual activity of teenagers and their pregnancy rates in the most pro-choice states with those of the most pro-life states. I used NARAL"s rankings to determine which were the best and worst states on choice. (Simply, those that scored "F" are the worst and those with an "A" are the best). I then filled in the state data for each from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, the National Day sponsors, and compared the pro-choice states with the pro-life states.
Which side is actually doing a better job?
Conclusion: one side has a lot more to celebrate. Turns out pro-life states, those that are prone to tell kids that abstinence is the only proven contraception, and discourage use of actual contraception, then wag their finger at the less "morally superior" states, are where high schoolers are:
· more sexually active
· more likely to have had sex before the age of 13
· more likely to have four or more sexual partners.
Turns out that to be "pro-life" is to be pro-your-young-teen-having-a-risky-sex-life. In addition, the states that are witnessing the most dramatic drop in teen pregnancies are the most solidly pro-choice ones (CA, VT, HI, AK) while the ones where teen pregnancy rates are declining most slowly are anti-choice (NE, MS, WY, OK).
As this election goes from a simmer to a boil, the culture warriors will be dosing ideological gasoline on the flames. Isn't it time to call the religious right's bluff? If we measured their agenda based on its results they could only be considered the pro-risky-adolescent-sex-unwanted- pregnancy-teen-mothers-and-more-abortion crowd. They have no right to moralize and no standing to be sanctimonious -- that should be our job. They're wrong. We know it and it's time the American public did too. Pro-choice people, and most especially pro-choice candidates, have got to use the gifts of evidence we've been given (and earned). The American public doesn't want its 12-year-olds sexually active or their daughters impregnated by one of their four or more sexual partners -- but that's what the pro-life agenda is poised to make America's reality, and sadly has for too many already. There's quantitative data to prove it. One thing is for sure, the religious right is not going to mention it. Now wonder they're lying low today.
For breaking news on threats to birth control access and information visit birthcontrolwatch.org