Teen pregnancy rates highest in South, but why?

Although overall teen pregnancy rates are down, there is a large disparity in rates between states. Southern states are often the highest, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why would some Southern pregnancy rates be higher? Some health advocates believe it’s because sex ed in Southern states often stresses abstinence-only instead of being comprehensive sex ed programs.

From The Hill:

“Whatever the reason, the regional disparities are stark. In Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, for instance, 2008 birth rates were less than 25 per 1,000 teens aged 15 to 19, CDC found. In the same year, Arkansas, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas all had rates topping 60 per 1,000 teens.”

“Mississippi had the country’s highest rate (65.7), CDC says, while New Hampshire had the lowest (19.8).”

“Leslie Kantor, national education director of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said the report ‘makes it crystal clear that the teen birthrate is lower in states that provide students with comprehensive, evidence-based sex education. ’ ”

” ‘The report demonstrates that the surest way to reduce teenage pregnancy is to provide young people with comprehensive, medically accurate sex education, and doing so is especially urgent for African-Americans and Latino teens, who are getting pregnant more frequently than other young people,’ “

The article says a report from the Guttmacher Institute, a women’s reproductive health groups, agrees with this assessment. All five states with the highest teen birth rates require that abstinence be stressed when taught as part of sex or HIV education. Of the four states with the lowest birth rates, none required abstinence be stressed to students.

The federal government announced earlier this month that it will grant $375 million to 28 sex ed programs that have been proven to lower pregnancy rates and move away from abstinence-only type education plans.

From the Associated Press:

“Beginning this school year, a five-year, $375 million grant is being divided among 28 programs that have been proven to lower the pregnancy rate among participants, no matter their focus. Many programs distribute condoms, but about half also aim to boost teens’ academics, get them involved in extracurricular activities and even improve their parents’ job status.”

“Advocates believe this “above the waist” approach gives kids the tools to help them succeed in school and make better life decisions, especially about sex.”

” ‘There’s a growing realization that we have to talk to young people about relationships. It’s not just body parts,’ said Bill Albert, the chief program officer for The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. ‘It’s saying, ‘What are your goals?’ and helping young people understand what they need to do to get there.’ ”

“That theory, which has become popular in the safe-sex community in the past decade, will replace the abstinence-centered talks funded by a Republican Congress in the late 1990s and later under President George W. Bush to the tune of $1.5 billion.”

“Critics contend there is little proof those programs lowered the teen pregnancy rate or that participants were less likely to have sex. In 2007, Mathematica Policy Research, an independent government contractor, released a study showing students in abstinence-only programs are no more likely to abstain from sex, delay having sex or have fewer partners than students who received no sex education at all.”

So what do you think? Do you think there is a link between higher pregnancy rates in the South and abstinence-only programs? Which type of sex education programs do think work best? What do you think of new approaches such as stressing goals for the future and how to get there or involving kids in extracurricular activities so there aren’t empty afternoon to just have sex?

Is this a fair rap for the South?

99 comments Add your comment

guy

October 21st, 2010
12:40 pm

education. the south has some of the lowest educational rankings and the highest teen pregnancy rate. this is not a coincidence.

dawgydawg47

October 21st, 2010
12:46 pm

I agree with guy. I think it is more of a socio-economic issue. It’s just another example of our government’s out of control spending.

Metro Coach

October 21st, 2010
12:49 pm

Does the study factor in number of births to determine pregnancy rate? Or just how many teens get pregnant? If they use actual births, then abortion rates will factor in. I would wager that the South has less of those than other, more liberally inclined regions do.

bunch of yentas

October 21st, 2010
1:02 pm

Causation and correlation are often not related.

I do think comprehensive sex education can make a difference and probably plays some factor, but there are also other reasons.

One such reason is immigration. Most hispanic immigrants are Catholic. The Catholic church still teaches its members archaic ideas on population growth and birth control.

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Oh, c'mon...

October 21st, 2010
1:05 pm

…we all know the answer to this yet cannot say or write it because political correctness and charges of racism – please break down the finding by nationality, race, and ethnic group and the picture clears up appreciably…

Dingy

October 21st, 2010
1:08 pm

Metro Coach, you read my mind. It would be interesting to compare the “pregnancy rates” with the number of teenage abortion rates by state. I would posit that the non-South (i.e., Bible Belt) states have lower abortion rates overall. The stigma of an abortion is much worse in the South than a teenage parent.

I also wonder how much comes from the South and thier agrarian roots. That is, a century ago, residents tended to marry young and have children to “tend the fields”. So, it has been passed generationally that having children at a young (i.e., teen) age is acceptable. That’s probably a stretch, but you never know.

Dingy

October 21st, 2010
1:08 pm

Check that – meant non-South states have HIGHER abortion rates. Sorry for the typo.

DebbieDoRight

October 21st, 2010
1:16 pm

It’s just another example of our government’s out of control spending

Teen pregnancies are the goverment’s fault? HUH? You tea baggers are WAY over the top!! :roll:

Metro Coach

October 21st, 2010
1:18 pm

The study also includes 18 and 19 year olds. For the purpose of this study the age limit should’ve been 17, because many people start marrying at 18 or 19 and therefore the term “teen pregnancy rate” doesn’t apply.

Drew

October 21st, 2010
1:19 pm

I love the way ‘Southerners’ make up all different reasons for this subject. Bottom line is…y’all are too ignorant to realize abstinance don’t do a bit o’ good when teenagers are roarin’ and they ain’t been schooled that doin the ‘wild thing’ w/o precautions is gonna meake more little southerners…Nature ain’t gonna change cuz someone sez “don’t be foolin’ around”..HAH!! Hormones rule and y’all be fools…

bunch of yentas

October 21st, 2010
1:20 pm

I looked it up and there does seem to be higher abortion rates in the North East than in the South East, but abortions come no where close to expalaining these descrepancies.

As to “Oh C’mon”, Caucasion and African American birthrates have both slowed over the past 25 years and are about even today. Hispanic birth rates are much higher.

The Catholic Church holds the key to stopping a lot of this by just coming out and admitting that condoms are effective birth control and prevent disease. But the Pope is still singing that same old song.

guy

October 21st, 2010
1:24 pm

yentas, wouldnt you expect the birthrates in the southwest to be the highest if your hispanic theory is correct?

SuwaneeMommy

October 21st, 2010
1:24 pm

I grew up in California’s San Joaquin Valley, which has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the state–then and now. I saw several of my friends get pregnant and have their babies while we were in high school.

What will stop girls from getting pregnant is having reachable goals for education, sports, drama, music, dance, military, or career. Nothing will prevent those goals faster than getting pregnant. When any young person finds something he or she is talented in, and wants to pursue, they can focus their energy on that AND identify the things that will hold them back from that.

I’ve observed that it’s also a matter of self-esteem. Girls who think they need a “man” to complete their life are largely the ones who ended up pregnant, in my experience. Those of us who were too involved with choir, band, debtate, YMCA, church or whatever developed self-esteem from being recognized for our own accomplishments. I also think a lot of this is because people are encouraged to pair off at way too early an age. There is far too much pressure put on kids to be in relationships.

By the way, the biggest problem with teen pregnancy in my hometown in California, besides the babies having babies, was that they were getting knocked up not by their peers, but by older men. I’m talking a 25-year-old man with a 15-year-old girl. My county’s DA had no problem pursing statutory rape charges against these creeps. I wish this were enforced more.

Photius

October 21st, 2010
1:24 pm

Although I love living in the South, it is sooo hick-ville and backwards in many ways. My thoughts:

- The South has been and always will be last in education; these people don’t get it and never will on so many levels of education, including pregnancy education.
- Bible belt influence everywhere – just say no – save yourself until marriage – and don’t deal with reality
- Bible belt + ignorance + low education = out of wed lock babies
- Morons breed more morons; they are grandparents by the time they are 38 and generation after generation keeps doing the same dumb decisions without ever learning from mistakes. Their grandbabies breed a lot of morons…. And the downward spiral continues….

bunch of yentas

October 21st, 2010
1:27 pm

Guy, The birth rates are very high in south western states, so yes, i expect it and it is.

“In the same year, Arkansas, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas all had rates topping 60 per 1,000 teens”

I am not trying to imply, although I admmit it appears that I am, that this issue is purely catholicism, but it is a factor.

There are also economic factors in play here as well.

Monica

October 21st, 2010
1:34 pm

Debbiedoright, I think that the “teabaggers” were stating that the federal goverment’s solution to any problem is to throw money at it. I don’t think anyone’s blaming the government for the teen pregnancy rate.

I don’t really buy the Catholic Church explanation because the vast majority of southerners are not Catholic. Kids know plenty about birth control; they are just too lazy to use it, or they think getting pregnant only happens to other people.

Since when do New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas qualify as southern states?

anonymous

October 21st, 2010
1:35 pm

When you allow Planned Parenthood to teach kids all the kinky ways to have sex, you must then ask, “Why are they having sex?”….

Besides…Planned Parenthood comes into schools even though they have ties to racists in their founding…why? Watch the film Maafa21 for details on that http://www.maafa21.com

guy

October 21st, 2010
1:39 pm

yentas, monica hit my point. im sure hispanics and catholics are part of the problem, but given the substantially higher concentration of them in the southwest, they alone dont explain why the teen pregnancy rates are highest in the southeast. i still say it’s the education.

LD

October 21st, 2010
1:58 pm

African Americans birth rates have slowed down???? Tell that to a young African American girl I know that is all of 24 years old with 6 kids. Yes, 6. She also recieves 1,200 a mth in food stamps (which she sells half for half on the dollar), pays only $168 a month on a $1,500 mortgage (thanks to hud), recieves welfare, medicaid and never worked a day in her life. She also drives a nice car and is always dressed to the nines. Her youngest is 8 mths and she just told me she thinks she’s prego again :(

The Truth

October 21st, 2010
2:11 pm

Comparing Georgia, Alabama, Texas, South Carolina, Florida, and Mississippi to the wealthiest states in America? Quoting “Planned Parenthood”? Come on. Let’s compare abortion rates in teens in the regions or birth control use in teens. Here is the deal, wealthy parents put their girls on birth control and poor parents simply cannot afford it. Thus pregnacy strikes poorer people far more often than middle and upper classes. Do some research that isn’t so blanketed and biased. You can educate all you want but if the parents and kids aren’t listening or making better personal decisions, what does it matter?

abc

October 21st, 2010
2:17 pm

I think demographics of the states compared have a lot to do with it. Percentage of black and Hispanic population in Southern states is anywhere from double to triple that of New England. National statistics of teen and unwed mothers goes along the same racial lines. One could say that education is the key, and those races should be especially targeted for that education, but exposure to information is different from acquiring knowledge and using it. You can lead a horse to water, etc.

JJ

October 21st, 2010
2:39 pm

I think it has to do with the parents. My daughter has three friends, two under the age of 19, who are either pregnant or have had a child. Out of these three girls, not one of them has a good home life. One girl lives in a VERY affluant (sp) neighborhood, million dollar homes, fancy cars, and her parents leave her for weeks at a time, while they go off to europe, Hawaii, etc. I was appalled when she came over to my house, asking to spend the night and eat dinner with us. I asked where her parents were, and she said Europe for two weeks….WTF?????

Another, parents were divorced, and mom is too busy dating, trying to find her man….so obviously she wasn’t around to discuss this with her child.

And the third, well, she seems to have it all together, although she did drop out of high school to have her first child, and is now pregnant with her 2nd. She is 21. However, she did marry the baby daddy, they both work full time jobs, and they just recently bought a house, and are now expecting their second child.

I think these times are very scary for girls, the teen years, and they really need some kind of consistent parenting….or just to know that a parent is there for them. All my daughter’s friends know they can come talk to me any time….even if she is at school, they can come by my house and talk if they need to.

I guess that’s why I didn’t date a lot while raising my child. She was #1, and I needed to be there for her…..

Oh, c'mon...

October 21st, 2010
2:41 pm

…thanks LD and abc for saying out loud what I was hinting at – the largest statistic that gets overlooked, or just plain left out, is percentage of a race/ethnic group per capita to the overall regional population per capita, thus skewing the results so that the writers APPEAR to be non-biased, thus making it a REGIONAL problem rather than a race/ethnic group problem…

mom of 3

October 21st, 2010
2:46 pm

This is a sad topic. 2 out of 3 of my daughters were on birth control when they were in high school. 1 was on the pill due to medical conditions with her period and actually starting taking them in the 5th grade. The other we had a discussion and I knew where we needed to go. Teenagers are going to have sex.
Again, we must go back to whose responsibility is it? It is not planned parenthood, sex ed, the church or anyone else but the parents. So many think if I put my daughter on the pill then I am saying please have sex. No, you are saying if it happens you are protected from an unwanted birth.
My 1st husband died several years back. When I started seeing someone my daughter, at the time was 20 yrs old, came into my room with a condom and said, Ok mom, do you know what to do with this. I died laughing but it made me realize that I had taught my daughters to protect themselves and take responsibility.
It’s time parents took action and became parents. You aren’t only talking about pregnancy you are talking life and death now. Sex has become more scary that the scare of getting pregnant.

Jesse's Girl

October 21st, 2010
2:58 pm

While abstinence is what we would all….realistically..love our children to practice…lets get real please. I harbor absolutely no illiusions that my children will abide by this wish. I have already had the talk with my 13 and 12 year old daughters and my 7 year old son will hear the same thing when it becomes necessary. My children live in totally different age than I did. Its more difficut to be a kid and stay a kid these days. There are many ways to lose one’s innocence in 2010….and that isn’t just relegated to sex. Teach your children what the heck a condom is please. Teach them that sex isn’t some mystery that needs to be discovered. Teach them the real life issues that accompany the act itself. Pregnancy is the least of the evils that can befall one who engages in it. Be parents in every sense of the word…..educate your children about sex. Don’t be pansies and shy away from it just because it makes you uncomfortable. How uncomfy will you be when your child is having a child and is also infected with Aids or any of the other myriad of diseases that can be contracted?

It would also be interesting to see where these results fall on racial/socio-economic lines…..

TallMom

October 21st, 2010
3:06 pm

Several years ago I worked with teen parents in “perfect” East Cobb…people I came in contact with were SHOCKED to learn that more teen parents were white, than all the other races COMBINED. Wake up people…while at one time this MAY have been a race issue, those days are long gone….can I tell you what it looked like seeing a THIRTEEN YEAR OLD CHILD walking in carrying her 4 month old baby? Yep…she got pregnant at TWELVE…the daughter of upstanding East Cobb parents.

Start teaching protection along with abstinence and we MIGHT have a fighting chance of helping our teen girls.

Hey, TallMom...

October 21st, 2010
3:10 pm

“Several years ago” East Cobb was more white, so I would expect the result to be skewed there – do some research in “today’s” East Cobb and I am willing to bet the results are completely different…

Duh

October 21st, 2010
3:19 pm

Southern states pregnancy rates are higher because it has higher percentages of blacks and hispanics. I know this isn’t the “p.c.” answer, but its the correct answer.

The “abstinance programs” have very little to do with the reason. Its purely race attributable.

JJ

October 21st, 2010
3:19 pm

TallMom – I have a friend who’s niece had a baby at 13……she is now 17 with a four year old. They tried to tell her to put the baby up for adoption, but you know 13 year olds know more than we do. So instead of giving up the baby to a better home, she is 17, has a 9th grade education, can’t get a job, and is on food stamps and gov’t assistance, living with her grandmother (who is an alcoholic). Oh well, the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree, as her mother is a druggie and has been in and out of jail numerous times in the last 7 years……VERY sad…..

Tee

October 21st, 2010
3:26 pm

Well, LD. I am black and a Mississippian and was a virgin until the age of 25. Had my first and ONLY child during marriage. My sister is 25, has no children, and is pharmacy graduate student. The statistics show upwards of 70 out ONE THOUSAND which means that 930 out of 1000 are more like my sister and me. #letsapplaudthepositive

[...] and the lowest in the Northeast and the upper Midwest. Atlanta Journal-Constitution considers what makes the difference) (Los Angeles [...]

TechMom

October 21st, 2010
3:57 pm

I was a teen mom. What do I think would have prevented me from getting pregnant? Being occupied. I wasn’t the typical teen mom; I was a straight-A student and very involved in school and other activities but it happened over the summer when I had nothing better to do. Seriously, it’s the only decent excuse I’ve got. I started sneaking out with friends and hooked up with a guy friend. I was in that mindset of “it won’t happen to me” and was shocked when it did. I was intelligent but oblivious.

I did decide to keep my son and I do think I’ve done quite well but I think that I’m atypical. Most teen moms would be better off if 1) they didn’t get pregnant in the first place but 2) if they gave the baby up for adoption. Becoming a parent completely changes your life (as it should) but most teenagers are not capable of committing to the type of lifestyle change being a parent requires and ultimately the result is a vicious cycle of poverty because they don’t get an education and aren’t able to support themselves and their children.

P.S. My solution to teenagers having multiple children – no more epidurals! Seriously, natural childbirth was enough to make me not want to have sex again until I was married and permanently impacted my outlook on having more children ever!

Kate

October 21st, 2010
4:04 pm

As much as I hate to say it, race and the racial make up of the south, does play a factor in these numbers. However, its not the only explanation. We live in a society that sexualizes young girls at an increasingly early age. With every generation you find more and more young women under the belief that the only thing that makes them special or worthwhile is their sexuality. Kids are bombarded with bad influences from the internet, TV, their peers and sometimes even the adults in their lives, giving them a very skewed idea of reality. That’s why its so important for parents to talk to their kids about sex. No you can’t follow your teenagers around day and night and ultimately, this is a decision they will have to make for themselves, but getting some honest, intelligent advice from their parents can make all the difference in the world. Children really do look to their parents for guidance, even though they may give you hell for it.

Just for the record, the Catholic church, like virtually every other religion, also teaches that premarital sex is a sin. Regardless of what they’ve been taught at church, virtually all kids know how babies are made and if they’re going to be sexually active they had better take precautions.

THE CATHOLIC HAMMER

October 21st, 2010
4:09 pm

The Catholic Church is “part of the problem”?

What’s the problem with children?

What’s the problem with young women becoming mothers? It’s what they do.

However, the young men need to become fathers.

Betty

October 21st, 2010
4:38 pm

TechMom–Thanks for sharing–Really! It’s interesting to hear you say you were bored and didn’t have enough to do because I’ve also read/heard that many teens start drinking for the same reason. You didn’t mention that alcohol played any roll in your pregnancy but since it does play a roll in many unplanned preganancies I’d love to see stats on alcohol or drug use and teen pregnancies.

FCM

October 21st, 2010
4:39 pm

@ Metro Coach I wondered the same thing…what was the abortion rate and how do those factor.

Here is a quote from the CDC paper “This report examines disparities in teenage birth rates by state and among the largest racial and ethnic population groups.” SO since it is birth rates I am thinking you are right on the money. Especially since the south is considered to be pro-life.

Betty

October 21st, 2010
4:39 pm

ehhh, role not roll….oh and I love TechMom’s epidural solution!

FCM

October 21st, 2010
4:43 pm

TWG I have to answer your last question on is it a fair rap for the south? SInce the abortion rates are not presented we cannot say…and that means the blog has a bias or slant too. I am surprised you did not present those figures to make it a fair question. In fact it makes me sad to think some will continue to sterotype the south with things like this as their “evidence”.

(OK I am sure MJG or somebody will slam me for saying that).

miracle

October 21st, 2010
4:45 pm

miracle

October 21st, 2010
4:48 pm

Heather

October 21st, 2010
5:00 pm

Catholics are not the only pro-life religion. Southern Baptists and other forms of Christianity do not condone abortion or premarital sex. Also, in regard to abortion, with Missisippi having the highest birth rate, it would seem that access to abortion would have some effect. I can’t imagine Mississippi, especially the rural areas, having much access.

Casey

October 21st, 2010
5:06 pm

I’m a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner who treats a lot of pregnant teenagers in the deep south. The reason is cultural (and I do not mean black or white). In the south, you are considered to be the odd person if you are not married with 3 kids by the time you are 25. I actually had a 27 year old patient who was very upset she had fertility issues because she wanted to have all of her kids by the time she was 25. The focus in the south is getting married and/or having children very early in life.

outspoken1

October 21st, 2010
5:09 pm

not sure why I am the only one that “get’s it”….BUT, girls just LOVE sex. I grew up in Alabama in the 70’s. It was easy to score, score and score. Don’t really remember any girl that wouldn’t.
I am not saying that was good but I am just saying, people have sex because it feels soooo good.

motherjanegoose

October 21st, 2010
5:14 pm

@ Casey, I respect your opinion because you do seem to have medical expertise that I, for one, am lacking.

I am interested in the idea you present, as there are very rural and perhaps more family directed after HS areas of the south and then there are the cities. Even inner city kids may have a different opinion of what is expected than perhaps the suburbs, where I live.

Kinda like sayin’ all southerners like sweet tea, collard and grits.

I have never heard the 3 kids and 25 year old rule with my own two, who are in college. Lord knows, my son would need to get rolling as he is 23 now and, so far, DB has not mentioned his wife….LOL. Any news DB?

DB

October 21st, 2010
5:35 pm

@MJG: the wedding was lovely, wish you had been there . . . :-p

As to the topic — education, education, education, goals, goals, goals, self-confidence and self-respect. If you don’t feel that your goals are attainable, then the education is useless, and is trivialized. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the states with the highest pregnancy rates are also the ones with the lowest educational accomplishments. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with teaching abstinence ALONG WITH all the other things. Why not? It’s a perfectly valid form of birth control — keep your legs closed, and you don’t have to worry about pregnancy and STDs. But if that fails, “Wrap That Wienie!”

And the states that are noted are also know for high percentage of rural communities. My daughter had a good friend in a rural community about 60 miles from Atlanta, and was shocked at the change in her in high school. She went from a nice kid in middle school to hanging out “drinkin’ and screwin’” every weekend, because “there was nothing else to do where they lived.” My daughter started to pull away from her in the last year or so, but the other girl visited her a few weeks back and they planned to go a party. On the way to the party, the friend shocked my daughter by saying, “So, are we going to be all moral or are we going to have fun and see how many guys we can screw tonight?” Her contention was that as long as she got checked out by a doctor every six months, it didn’t matter. Definitely a case of “looking for love in all the wrong places.” My daughter had her drop her off at a MARTA station on the way to the party, came home and “unfriended” her on Facebook. Sad, but my daughter learned long ago that you are judged by the company you keep. *sigh*

Mark

October 21st, 2010
6:07 pm

Not originally from the south but being stationed here from due to the military I have a different perspective. Kids are raised differently here. Different values. Many I know go to church every Sunday and claim to have strong beliefs BUT live like heathens when church is over. Not the way I was raised. Now to stir up everyone, where I come from the minority population is around 25%. I wonder what the teen pregnancy rates would be if you had a minority population of 25% here in the south? In fact, I wonder what the rates are by ethnic group.

BluebellJones

October 21st, 2010
6:24 pm

Well, sex does feel good. Hard to argue that. How about ditching all this abstinence junk and get real. Talk about all the relevant body parts, what goes where, what to expect, what is dangerous and what causes pregnancy. Just the basic gist of it-they can get fancy on their own dime. I don’t know why everyone is so het up about teenagers having sex. If they are told what will happen, that sex is a good, pleasurable thing but must be protected sex I’m pretty sure the whole thing will be de-mystified. And condoms and birth control pills in the schools. Don’t deny them the opportunity to use caution.

BluebellJones

October 21st, 2010
6:31 pm

Also, there’s an awful lot of chat here about the girl’s responsibility. Not much pressure seems to be put on the young men. I do hope we are past the days when people thought the boys just couldn’t control themselves and it was the girls job to fight him off. This isn’t the 60’s. It takes two.

Monica

October 21st, 2010
6:32 pm

Tech Mom, I had a student several years ago who had a baby at 16. Her mother wouldn’t let her get an epidural because she said she wanted her to remember that pain! Good idea!

BluebellJones

October 21st, 2010
6:46 pm

Y’all are just mean!

Kate

October 21st, 2010
6:51 pm

There is, as there always has been and probably always will be, a double standard for girls. Bottom line is girls are they are the ones that get pregnant, they’re the ones who have to give birth and, for the most part, they’re the ones stuck with the kid. As for my kids, I’m going to tell my sons the exact same thing I will tell my daughter: given the number and prevalence of STDs (and condoms don’t protect you against all of them), the human body was obviously not designed for multiple sexual partners. I do not expect, nor do I even want, my kids to wait until they are married to have sex. I don’t want any of them to marry some loser just because they’re hot to trot. All I ask is for them to wait until they are out of high school. Whatever decision they make, make it as an adult!

Kate

October 21st, 2010
6:54 pm

Enter your comments here

facts are your friend

October 21st, 2010
7:00 pm

@ Oh, c’mon, Your thesis isn’t racist– I wondered the same thing. But by clicking on the link you’ll see that your thesis is wrong. California, which is a majority-minority state, had a lower teen-birth rate than the national average. So did states like Illinois and Michigan– states with significant minority populations. And states like Wyoming, West Virginia, and Indiana had significantly higher teen-birthrates than average. The numbers can not be explained by race or class. Far more plausible are these sex education thesis and the abortion thesis.

Tuckergirl

October 21st, 2010
7:04 pm

This is actually one of the best discussions on the subject that I’ve seen in a while. Good perspectives from a lot of different sides.

I had not considered the cultural issue of Southern girls feeling they had to have children young. I felt that as a college-age girl but the pressure was to BE MARRIED. Then you had the kids. I was one of a rare few girls in my large Baptist church that wasn’t married by 25 and yes, I got asked a lot why I wasn’t married yet and when was I going to settle down. HA! Like it was better to marry someone I didn’t love just to be married and have kids than wait for the right one. They thought I was crazy for waiting until I was 33.

I agree with those who have stated that a lot of teen girls who have nothing going on in their lives like running track, yearbook, chorus or some other activity are going to drift into trouble. So true! When a young woman can excel at something, she’s more apt to set goals and work toward them. She’s less prone to fall for some boy’s slick line or spend her time in tempting situations. How many times have I heard these girls say, “Now I have someone who will always love me.” Oh boy…

I also have to comment that a lot of parents are frankly not plugged in. They think, hey, I’ve paid my dues. I went through teething, potty training, soccer, etc. I don’t have to sweat it any more. NO! That’s when you have to be around even more to listen and make a point to ask questions. My parents knew what I was doing and where I was at all times. They didn’t try to be my “friend” and cave into some insane idea that disciplining your child is cruel. They didn’t let me hang out with kids they had never met or stay out all night.

I might also add that with a lot of shows on TV almost glamorizing teen pregnancy, it can look good to a naive kid.

deidre_NC

October 21st, 2010
7:17 pm

my daughter bought a jumbo pack of condoms for her senior prom because she didnt want any of her friends to have the excuse that they forgot. she wasnt dating anyone at the time…so they werent for her…but she is a huge advocate of condom use and gives her friends hell about not using them. her teachers thought it was very thoughtful of her to buy condoms for all who needed them lol….we live in a very rural mountain community….teen moms are common and no one really thinks anything of it. my daughter, when she is sexually active, uses condoms and the pill…she would be very upset to get pregnant before she finishes school. probably would be very upset if she gets pregnant before shes 30…she wants to have fun after school.

deidre_NC

October 21st, 2010
7:23 pm

@anonymous…that is unreal…

concerned teacher

October 21st, 2010
7:47 pm

I know I will be accused of being racist, but it is obvious that the reason teen pregnancy is higher in the South is because there is a higher percentage of blacks in the South. Historically and culturally, there has been less of a stigma in the black community of having a child out of wedlock than in other cultures. Also, historically, education has not been emphasized in the black culture. I know I sound like I am painting a broad brush, and of course there are exceptions, but as a whole, I believe this is true. You can can look at the Housewives of Atlanta show and see an example of what I am saying. I am a high school teacher and I see this every day. I wish it was not true, but sadly it is. I am teaching a student who is back on track for graduation after getting behind when she had her daughter a year ago. Guess what?? She starting being absent 3 times a week and sleeping in class and just told me she is pregnant again. She is not even 18 years old and will have 2 children. Another student I teach will have a baby in January and just told me her 9th grade sister is pregnant and will have a baby in March. She was so excited that they will have babies together!!!! In my senior English class there are 3 pregnant girls. All of these 6 girls I am talking about are black. This is in a school that is 35% black. You can call me racist but you cannot deny the facts. Of course, the girls tell me how much money they get for each baby. I get the idea that they look at having babies as a way to supplement their income and give them a purpose in life. I really think that it keeps them from facing the fact that they need to get an educastion to better their economic prospects. Until the black community addresses this problem I am afraid it will not get better. Oh, and before you say it, I know that white girls get pregnant too, but the statistics show that it is no where near the rate of black girls. I really am not being judgemental, I am just so upset for these girls because I see how hard they stuggle to finish high school after they have a baby. It breaks my heart when they drop out because it is just too hard to finish. I also worry that their babies will sturggle too.

Ellen

October 21st, 2010
8:04 pm

Boys don’t like condoms and girls want to make boys happy.

marko

October 21st, 2010
8:05 pm

Theresa, I don’t mean to discourage you, but you’re using a facts based argument. Facts don’t go over well in the south. Facts have been proven to have a liberal bias, therefore facts are not to be trusted. I suggest that you work on an argument devoid of facts and reason, and get back with us later.

belogical349

October 21st, 2010
8:28 pm

This is because we have so many blacks and now Mexicans. They have large families and a lot of kids out of wedlock so that they can get on welfare. I had a doctor friend that said, he once had a black patient tell the doctor, he didn’t know why he was having so many children. The black man had 23 kids. The doctor told the black man that he and his wife should practice some form of birth control. The black man said, “Oh no, doctor that’s not it, I think it’s the water”

SJ

October 21st, 2010
8:45 pm

It’s funny to me to see the emphasis that some are putting on race in this discussion. I have three teenage nieces who live in south Mississippi. They are white. They were raised in a good family, albeit one where the idea of going to college was not really discussed much and where there were some difficult circumtances as they reached their teen years.

The oldest one got married at around 18 and had a baby about a year later. The middle one got pregnant (unmarried) and had a baby at 16. The youngest is about to give birth to her second baby, by two different fathers, and she recently turned 16.

I love them all. However, I am very protective of my daughters and in no way want them to think that this is a desirable life choice. I just think that in south Mississippi, in my experience, there isn’t much stigma about having a baby. There isn’t much focus on making sure to use birth control so that you preserve your choices in life. Abortion is not discussed.

These girls just go along with whatever the guy wants, and the guys don’t want to use condoms. The girls don’t anticipate getting pregnant, and they feel that they are in love and will be together forever if they do get pregnant. Then the baby comes, and the guy leaves. Enter the next guy, and repeat the cycle. In many cases, the girls don’t have a strong father figure themselves, whether due to divorce or abandonment, and they are just looking for someone to love them.

I don’t know what to do about it, but it is so incredibly sad to me. Such a loss of potential. Doesn’t mean I don’t love the babies, or my nieces, but just very sad.

Dubldoc

October 21st, 2010
9:15 pm

Having lived in 13 states and 4 countries, I would have to agree that it has to do with the CULTURE of ‘just say no’, hypocrisy and all. Race just doesnt explain most of it, though there are some clear differences.

Education, folks, trumps religion and ideology.

’nuff said.

dingomania

October 21st, 2010
9:34 pm

It is higher in the South because the kids here are basically morons, plain and simple. Education here is horrible. I live in Cobb and they say how they are tops….tops? They are the BEST of the WORST. This state ranks 47th in education..47th!!! I am so happy that the last 2 Governors were so concerned about education..imagine if they weren’t?

Solution? Get rid of the “elected” school boards. Major cities like Boston have done away with them and have seen dramatic improvement.. Eliminate the department of Education…they are there to collect a paycheck…Have teachers pass competancy tests every 3 years to verify they KNOW what they are teaching//O can go on and on but you get my point

another comment

October 21st, 2010
9:56 pm

my daughters only choice under 18 is an abortion if they become pregnant. They know that going in. They also know about birth control, and not to be controled by stupid boys.

motherjanegoose

October 21st, 2010
10:06 pm

@dingomania..check your facts first. I do not know where you live in Cobb but take a peak at your school on greatschools.net and also compare your SAT/ACT scores to those nationally. You might find out a few things.

jill

October 21st, 2010
11:09 pm

teen pregnancy has benefits, especially for the extremely poor. the system takes care of teen mothers, they get medical care and services they would not otherwise have access to. a single person making minimum wage has a much harder time than a single mother making minimum wage, as she is also being subsidized with free medical care, food stamps, utility assist, free daycare, and sometimes even scholarships to college. the poorest people in this country are single uneducated women, if you don’t have access to education to get out of poverty having a baby and letting the system take care of you is a viable option.

Evening Crunch Crumbs

October 21st, 2010
11:37 pm

[...] will take the stage at the MTV EMAs in November…-Teen pregnancy is down…Unless you live south of the Mason-Dixon Line…-Just in time for Halloween: Alfred Hitchcock’s ’60s horror classic Psycho coming [...]

Cellcat

October 21st, 2010
11:38 pm

This is absolutely true! But putting this allegation into the news like this is a nwew phenomenon merely reveals denial by the greater mass society. LOL

The number one warning consistently passed on to us females in the West (at least here in NorCal) is to watch out for the boys in the South. Whether we go visit down there, or end up moving there, or the boys come up here for ANY reason.

They (southern boys) get you with their words, a sweet smile and seductive perseverance. You end up pregnant without understanding how the interaction went that far.

He ca talk you into becoming his girlfriend #6!
He can even talk you into living in the house with all his other girlfriends and kids!

Making babies is what they do in the South. That’s part of their daily culture…apparently, siring children shows them as an “alpha-dog” ( I won’t even comment on the ignorance of that tunnel-visioned belief)

Still, I warn you: Deny it at you own risk young ladies!

Mitchell Young

October 22nd, 2010
1:10 am

There is definitely a regional cultural thing going on here, but there is also a ethnic cultural (and/or) biological thing too. No need to eliminate one or the other. Looking at the tables in the link, in the overwhelming majority of states the Hispanic teen birthrate is higher than the very highest white teen birth rates. Arkansas , at 54 births per white teen female, seems to be the highest for whites. Looking b only 4 states (Montana, New Hampshire, Maine, West Virginia) is the Hispanic teen birthrate lower than Arkansas’s white teen birthrate. New York is close with a 55 per teen birthrate among Hispanics.
Hispanics love to crow that they are the fastest growing demographic, this is one reason why.

Different

October 22nd, 2010
2:57 am

It’s very different in the South. Much of adolescent pregnancy is intentional because women are expected to have children at a young age. In my town girls as young as 23 literally weep if they haven’t had babies or gotten married yet. The vast majority of young women here are either engaged, married, pregnant, or already have children at home before they even graduate from college at the age of 21/22. It is southern culture to get pregnant at 19 or 20.

My take (personally) is that a full-time job, a completed education, a home or apartment of your own, paying your own bills, and the beginnings of a sturdy savings account (a.k.a being a grown-up…) are prerequisites to marrying and having children. I don’t actually know why so many people apparently want to get married at such young ages – I thought the late teens/early 20s were about finding yourself, not a spouse! Culture is a powerful thing – it dictates the rules and those who disagree are told they don’t belong.

As for accidental pregnancies among adolescents…it wouldn’t be such a problem if people understood why it is important to have all those things – an acceptable job and income, an education that has already been completed, a place of your own, etc – before sexual activity is begun. That’s the challenge: trying to get irresponsible teenagers to turn into responsible adults before they have sex. I wouldn’t expect a teenager to be mature, but it is a parent’s job to get them there.

And nobody feels sorry for teenage boys and their uncontrollable hormones anymore. No one, male or female, can control their hormones, but they absolutely can control their behavior – if you give them no excuses to use. It takes two to tango, and each party is 100% responsible for their actions. With the exception of rape, if you, whether you’re male OR female, cause an unwanted pregnancy to happen, it is 100% your fault. Not your partner’s, not your parents’, not your teachers’. It is a thing called “personal responsibility” and no amount of abstinence-only, condom instruction, or free access to birth control should be allowed to **take its place.** Then it is only an excuse, a scapegoat, while the primary problem (nobody thinking they need to take “personal responsibility”) goes unaddressed. No need to wait until marriage, but everybody does need to be an adult. Parents can help their adolescents understand **why** it is important to learn how to swim before jumping into any oceans. Yes, that goes for males, too (you’re not excused!).

Different

October 22nd, 2010
3:19 am

I also do not believe for a split second that young people have sex out of boredom or because there was nothing good on TV. It’s mother nature that makes people want to have sex – it’s always been that way and always will be. Our ancestors did not start having sex because they simply couldn’t find anything else to do with their time, and sentencing teenagers to unwanted, time-consuming extra-curriculars is not going to make a bit of difference in their decisions and feelings about sex!

Exposure to sex or sex education has absolutely nothing to do with sexual desire either. It may impact a person’s approach to having sex, but it does not make them have hormones! Mother nature does! It’s not like we all would have been virgins forever if only our pesky parents or teachers had never told us we have reproductive parts. Sex is an instinct and people will always eventually have sex, regardless of whether they know a lot about it.

el toro loco

October 22nd, 2010
8:07 am

You might be correct in the catholic holds the key, but there is one problem with that theory being a catholic myself, there is not many catholic’s in the south. Down here the problem is alot of uneducated people here. We have 50% dropout rate in our locally high schools. There is no sex ed taught in the school. We all know when u are going through puberty nothing is going stop teen sex, so my solution is to pass out condoms in school. Also we are missing a very important issue here is sexual transmitted disease”s and that is even worse!

michael

October 22nd, 2010
9:36 am

start with the young boys with condom ed. keep the old dudes off the 12 to 16 year olds girls.

jd

October 22nd, 2010
9:52 am

They should all go on dancing with the stars.

jess

October 22nd, 2010
9:53 am

they do not teach sex ed down in texas, they leave it up to the parent, and half the parents do not know what their kids are doing . It is even surprising that even collage students at TTU do not know anything about sex or sexually transmitted diseases, and when they get away from their parents they have sex and do not know what to do to protect them self so its a matter of education and they are not getting it

sherri

October 22nd, 2010
10:14 am

i just think that teens no better. if they want to have sex then get on Birth Control or use a condom or just dont have sex. I dont see why its that hard not to use BC or a Condom. I mean go buy some. i just think teens are ACTING VERY DUMB THESE DAYS. I mean I just turned nineteen and still have NO KIDS. Everyone of my friends and ppl younger than me ARE PREGNANT or have 2 OR MORE KIDS BY NOW> which i think is very CARELESS. IT makes me mad becuz its not that hard to get on BC or use Condoms.. OR use BOTH at the SAMETIME!! teens need to realize that life is too short to bringing kids in this world when youre still a kid ya self. i just dont get it…why is everyone getting pregnant when they cant take care of theirselves. its a dam shame about these teens..they make me sick cuz they have BC, CONDOMS or ADOPTION…!! TEENS are getting dumber and dumber by the year..smh!!!

Haztrini

October 22nd, 2010
11:04 am

I truly believe that we as parents need to remember of needs as teenagers. Most of us probably had sex at a young age, yet we seem to think that our children would be different. Think back as to why we engaged in sex at an early age and we can better educate our children on real live experiences, not statistics.

Michael

October 22nd, 2010
11:15 am

I was very curious when i read about this report, because for some reason i realized that, they were totally biased and against the ideology of abstinence, what they dont talk about is the fact that, all sex education should include the theory of abstinence..trust me its the only sure way not to get STDs…

widethumb

October 22nd, 2010
11:31 am

Texas:
we work with an outreach program. Race does play a major part. Lets see a break down by race. I can tell you right now which has the highest and next highest rates. Must stop subsidizing more births. It becomes a way of more assistance.

Dumbasses

October 22nd, 2010
11:33 am

Sherri you are right on. Use the PILL & CONDOMS and you can screw your way across the country without complications. No excuses, just dumb parents, friends and individuals. Maybe it happens more in the south because their brains get baked in the hot sun.

dee marie

October 22nd, 2010
11:59 am

I have recently moved to arkansas from the southwest and realized right away there is nothing to do around here. They roll up the streets about 3 pm and the kids are pretty much left to their own devices as to what they are going to do, so I guess they would have sex. Its is cheap and easy. Also Ive noticed that for being a “dry” county they have more alcoholics and DUIs that I have seen in the state of nevada things that make you go hmmmmmm……..

Dumbasses

October 22nd, 2010
12:08 pm

Hey dee, Maybe that’s why BClinton couldn’t keep his snake in the cage?

Mike1

October 22nd, 2010
12:25 pm

This has nothing to do with socio-economic status or poverty. The reason is simple FAITH. Young people in the south have higher morality standards then in the north. Young girls are taught in the south that they must have the baby and in the Northeast they are taught about how to run a company and be a CEO of a company. Family values are stronger in the south!

sherri

October 22nd, 2010
12:33 pm

thanks Dumbasses. I mean that all they have to do if they dont want to have a child or get an STD. its so F*ucking simple. DUH!!!!! TEENS ARE JUST SCARED TO tell their parents they are having sex, but too me teens NEED to tell their Parentas so they can get put on BC or BUY CONDOMS.. HOw hard can it be. Teens are DUMB. THEIR PARENTS ALSO.

sherri

October 22nd, 2010
12:44 pm

i also agree w/ DEE MARIE.
..I live in OHIO, where there is NOTHING to do around here. But some ppl find ways like SMOKE WEED, DRINK ALL DAY & NIGHT, BE CHILDISH, AND HAVE SEX BECUZ ITS CHEAP AND F*UCKIN EASY!
WHEN I STARTED HAVING SEX, I TOLD MY PARENTS RIGHT AWAY. OF COURSE THEY WE’RE UPSET, BUT THEY TOLD ME TO GET ON THE PILL AND ALWAYS USE CONDOMS AND THATS WHAT DID. I DONT KNOW WHY ” THESE TEENS” THESE DAYS DONT LISTEN. LIKE I SAID IM 19 AND STARTED HAVING SEX WHEN I WAS 15 AND THRU OUT THOES YEARS I NEVER ONCE HAD A CHILD OR AN STD BECUZ i’ve been on THE PILL AND CONDOMS.
so why are teens acting DUMB!!

Texas white guy

October 22nd, 2010
1:13 pm

I know why white births could be lower than black or hispanic. White girls go oral or anal, no vagies.

NotATeenMOMTEXAS

October 22nd, 2010
1:20 pm

Lets leave religion out of this and lets take a look at the bigger picture here, when a teenager becomes pregnant we make life easier for them by giving them all sorts of free Government Programs, WIC- so they don’t pay for baby formula, MEDICAID-so they don’t pay for hospital bill or well baby check ups for up to 18 years of the baby’s life, HOUSING, so as a society we are teaching them to live off of the U.S. Government lets make a stand and change this and then we will be able to stop our teens from having babies otherwise they will continue to get pregnant and continue leaving off the Government .

Leon

October 22nd, 2010
1:56 pm

I’m from Jackson, Ms, the deepest of the deep south and I can tell you a few reasons. 1. Teen girls are trained from before they are teens that getting pregnant and being single gets you all sorts of government goodies(oh, and you must not marry or name the sperm donor) 2. Some of the young boys in school carry it as a badge of honor to have impregnanted a girl. 3. The girls can get a granny or an aunt to raise the baby while they keep the money for smokes and beer. 4. Everyone knows how to prevent preganancy you idiots but there are too many financial incentives to being a single mom especially when the benefits you get don’t have to be spent on the baby. If we limited the government benefits to only one child, this would surely slow down.

Southern realist

October 22nd, 2010
5:30 pm

Perhaps before you proceed to crack on the uneducated southern folk someone should look at the top 100 high schools as ranked by US News. The vast majority of this list is Texas and Florida schools along with several other southern states and as a matter of fact only 2 schools in the top 25 are northern. The southern birth rate is not because of a lack of education, access to services or overwhelming religious pressure (bible belt comment) but because of the social norms of certain demographics. Your school can tell you no don’t do it or no don’t do it with out a condom but as long as your family, those you look up to and your peer groups steer you in another direction the schools hands are tied. You have to want to change your circumstance and that’s a fact. You may also want to look at the welfare status of the southern states for further proof.

anonymous

October 22nd, 2010
6:05 pm

It bothers me to see how Southern girls are ridiculed in our society today. No one outside of our area truly understands the standards we face. Adults expect us to be modest, thoughtful, and above all good Christians. Expectations from adults are positive and great, but yet we face harder challenges. I always here, and in this case read, about Northerners who love nothing more to call us “redkneck skanks” and criticize our life style. One side is calling us this and the other calls us wholesome. I, and I’m sure others, feel torn. In Southern society, it comes to a point in which you want to explode and completely rebel. And when a boy comes along- well, you know the rest. The point is, if we were all to be more positive and better Christians, we can conquer this problem on all sides and hopefully stick to abstinence. Having sex out of marrige is wrong and immoral, and it should not be glamorized because of condoms and pills to prevent it.

gypsy

October 22nd, 2010
6:19 pm

why don’t we just take the white gloves off here, and be realistic that the real issue we know comes from a lack of education and higher poverty levels which the south has always been affiliated with, I am a teacher in an adult technical school and I am from the South. And on an extremely stressful and yet truthful day i simply tell my students that until they are financially stable and mentally able – I give them a dime ask them to hold it between their knees and learn to keep your freaking legs closed….it is well passed time to keep turning a blind eye to issue that we feel only affects other races, classes, or cultures of people. The government may not be 100% behind its so called efforts to actually curb teenage pregnancy because my next comment will be that for every single unwed mother who has a child, either she or the child or both will eventually be ushered trough some type of training program to obtain a career, and if because of their single w/children status are more likely to receive federal financial aid that is routed right back to the owners of our public post-secondary public college system….that’s right you guessed it’s our government……so when questioning statistic and/or facts look a little deeper to the root of the problem

deidre_NC

October 22nd, 2010
6:22 pm

i would still like to see abortion rates by states…i think more girls in the south dont get abortions.

deidre_NC

October 22nd, 2010
6:26 pm

States ranked by rates of abortion among women age 15-19 (pregnancies per thousand):

1.New Jersey (47)
2.New York (46)
3.Maryland (38)
4.Nevada (36)
5.California (36)
6.Hawaii (34)
7.Florida (33)
8.Delaware (31)
9.Connecticut (30)
10.Illinois (27)
Only two of the above rank in the top ten states with the highest teenage pregnancy rates of young women age 15-19. They are Nevada (ranked first with 113 pregnancies per thousand) and California (ranked seventh with 96 pregnancies per thousand).
http://womensissues.about.com/od/datingandsex/a/TeenAbortRates.htm

[...] -Miley Cyrus and B.O.B (ft. Hayley Williams) will take the stage at the MTV EMAs in November… -Teen pregnancy is down…Unless you live south of the Mason-Dixon Line… [...]

13YEARSNC

October 24th, 2010
5:35 pm

I’m from NC, and im 13…here’s why teens have sex.

>They’re scared of it.
>They think their partner will love them.
>They think it makes them cool.

It isn’t because we have nothing to do at all. But it does have to do with how you were raised.

JATL

October 25th, 2010
1:17 pm

Probably too late after being out of town to really get in on this, but there are 2 reasons (and abc, Oh-come on and others got one while other posters touched on the other) -1) The Bible thumpers refuse to admit we need age-appropriate COMPREHENSIVE sex ed in schools and kids need access to condoms! Most teenage brides I’ve seen are Bible-thumpers who are preggo. I don’t care how much Jesus you infuse into your kids -their hormones RULE during adolescence. Also, a lot of those kids never rebel or go against their parents’ teachings otherwise -don’t drink, try drugs, etc., but man, they really like to knock boots!

2) -and I’m sure everyone who has said this is getting knocked as a racist, but I am NOT a racist -this is just a report from the front lines -we have a MUCH larger African American population -and to some degree, Hispanic. I taught for 4 years in an all-black high school, and not only was teenage pregnancy no big deal, it was actually thought of as A-OK in many homes and by many teens. When I was 27 a junior class told me I was “too old” to have kids. These weren’t 8 year old elementary students -these were 17 year olds! Many were already parents themselves. There is a really bad message in a large portion of the African American community that it’s okay to have babies in your teens. Hispanic teenagers seem to be all over the place, but because they’re the largest portion of Catholics who actually still follow the “rules,” 99.9 % of Hispanic teens who get pregnant have their babies and if they marry early and start having children, they are highly likely to never practice birth control.

Valerie

October 26th, 2010
2:11 pm

Being from the south (Ga), if you’re not near a major city (Atlanta), there isn’t much to do, nothing to occupy time. Sex becomes an option. I’m a recent graduate. In high school we were taught abstinence, but yet there was an outrageous number of pregnant girls walking the halls. Obviously the abstinence method is not effective. Students were still having sex, but didn’t know how to properly use a condom.

Purpleknight67

October 26th, 2010
11:00 pm

I live in San Antonio, TX. Bexar county(pronounced Bear) has the highest number of teen pregnancies in the United States. I retired from the U.S. Army in 1992 and went to work for the city in the WIC program. When I left California, (where I retired from), I heard that San Antonio had the highest # of pregnancies in the United States. I didn’t believe it until I started working in this field. I was shocked at the young girls from 14 – 16 who were coming in to get on WIC. What blew my mind even more were the number of mothers who were proud that they were going to become a grandmother. I now teach at a proprietary school where most of my students are in their early to mid twenties. In a class of 23 students, where 19 are female and of the 19, sixteen are Hispanic, 2 white, and 1 African American, they all had children when they were teenagers. When we were studying the Reproductive system I asked how many had asked their partner to use a condom before they had sex. About 73% of the class answered that the male said he would not be able to “feel” her with a condom on. After I explained that the condoms of today are so much more sensitive today, than back in my day, they did not have a clue. When asked if they had sex education in high school, a lot said there parents, (mainly single mother) did not want them to take sex ed. We need to educate the parents before we can educate the children.