God and Teen Pregnancy

Sarah KliffThis is from Sarah Kliff over at Wonk Blog. The Guttmacher Institute put together this map based upon teen pregnancy rates in 2008. For some strange reason, Kliff spends a whole article talking about how New Mexico has the highest teen pregnancy rate of any state. It turns out that the state doesn’t mandate sex education in high school. And the rate of teen women on birth control is low. But really: who cares?

Look at the map below; do notice a pattern? There are minor patterns, of course. It seems that living in the middle of nowhere like Wyoming keeps pregnancy down—maybe because everyone knows what everyone else is doing; or maybe because everyone’s afraid that Dick Cheney will show up. It also seems that living in a crowded and urbane state tends to push up pregnancy rates—maybe its the pheromones. But that’s not the clearest pattern.

Most of the deep south, where God and abstinence only sex education are gonna keep our little uns safe has the highest levels of teen pregnancy. Like all good conservatives, they just know that their baseless, anti-scientific beliefs are true. You know the story of the little conservative who thought it so? He spent his whole life spinning his wheels and never noticed.

Teen Pregnancy Map

I think it’s so; I think it’s so; I think it’s so; I think it’s so; I think it’s so; I think it’s so…

Afterword

There is also a high teen pregnancy rate in Delaware. I assume this is because of Joe Biden. The girls just can’t resist him.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “God and Teen Pregnancy

  1. The odd thing about that map is Utah. (Everything about Utah is odd.) Mormons have a very low teen pregnancy rate and a very low divorce rate. Part of this is that women are basically as independent in Mormonism as they were in 17th-century Plymouth.

    Part of this also is that Mormonism works. It’s the shining example of how oppressive religious belief really can accomplish many of the goals wished for by people who want America to be a Christian theocracy. There’s not a lot of crime, and government spending on social services is fairly low. Church charities take care of most things like unemployment assistance and support for the disabled.

    That is, if you’re Mormon. If you aren’t, and you need money to help you between jobs, or a new wheelchair for your disabled kid, you’re fucked. Many Mormons have no problem with this. I worked for a company in Portland that had expanded from Utah. They were in the disabled-services business, and thought they could take their Utah cost-cutting methods to Oregon (where government funding for disabled people is much higher) and pocket the difference.

    I could tell horror stories about what I saw, but fortunately I don’t have to; Oregon threw them the hell out of the state. What sticks in my memory, though, is how management (all Utah transplants) were utterly indifferent to how the company’s focus on profit screwed workers and, more diabolically, the disabled residents. None of those screwed were Mormon, so management didn’t think what they did was immoral. I’ve met some scarily soulless people in my day, yet almost all of them have some rationale for justifying their actions which would make sense to others if we believed it. The Danville Services Corporation didn’t bother. Those people were downright spooky, downright evil, and completely unfazed by what they did.

    Yes, theocracy can deliver the goods. It comes with a huge cost; the civic calm it delivers is based on fear that any deviation will result in cruel mistreatment. If you are in a position of influence in a theocracy, you have to embrace your duty to be vicious towards non-compliants. There are certainly Mormons with reservations about fucking over non-Mormons, and I’m glad those people exist. Generally, though, theocracy debases and diminishes both the people living under it and the people enforcing its rule.

    Utah is odd. When on the freeway you see an exit sign saying "New Bethlehem — 91 Miles — Gravel Road — No Services" you know you’re up Crazy Creek without a paddle. You just don’t get that level of "keep going, don’t stop, even if we have a flat tire and we’re driving on the rim" here in Minnesota. (You kinda do in North Dakota, though.)

  2. @JMF – Utah jumped out at me too, but I didn’t have much to say. Autocratic system do "work" in this limited sense. It goes back to the old, "The Nazis had their problems, but at least they made the trains run on time!"

    I have worked for and with a number of Mormons. In general, I haven’t had any problems. But what boggles my mind about them (and most other Christians) is how they have no interest in spiritual matters. They are really focused on materialism and what’s happening here. I think the reason for this is that authoritarianism is no longer cool unless it is cloaked in religion. Truly: if conservative evangelicals had their views without the patina of Christianity, everyone would just call them fascists.

  3. How about the simple fact that the reddest states are the ones closest to Mexico and presumably states with the highest percentage of Hispanics who also happen to have the highest teen pregnancy rate of any social demographic. Simple math. No need for weird religious debates about which church’s are more autocratic or which parishoners are more hypocritical.

    I worked with a couple Mormons once, they were pretty weird. They didn’t smoke or drink or swear and they tried to live their religious values, be kind to others, and work hard. They certainly weren’t perfect people; but, they valued trying to be–completely a-typical of most people, very weird indeed!

  4. @Josh – The article isn’t about religion. If you wish to know more about what I was getting at in the comment, please see my religious writing. The religious comment had nothing to do with the article. But I do care about the issue: in America, most religions are entirely cultural with little of the mysticism that they were all founded upon. In other words, they might as well be the Moose Lodge as the Mormon Church.

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