Saturday, May 06, 2006

Abstinence pregnant with failure

A couple of years ago I was having a conversation with a school administrator about keeping kids from becoming parents. Early teenaged pregnancy is on the rise and no laughing matter. Raising children is hard enough for working adults, it is largely an absurd life crisis when teenagers are the parents.

So I asked about the effectiveness of school guidance and health services and the answer I received was astonishing.

"Frank, believe it or not, we have teenaged girls who come to these programs not to learn about contraception or birth control but to receive counseling as to why they aren't getting pregnant." That didn't make sense to me. He went on to explain that certain segments of our population takes great pride in getting pregnant young and that the children are often raised by the grandparents as their own.

This is a complex issue. In recent years religious fundamentalists have intimidated many Planned Parenthood Organizations to fold or operate on meager budgets. The pregnancies and abortions that are the consequence of these policies are beginning to get counted.

The Washington Post and NYTimes are reporting the following study;

Use of Contraception Drops, Slowing Decline of Abortion Rate
Published: May 5, 2006

Contraception use has declined strikingly over the last decade, particularly among poor women, making them more likely to get pregnant unintentionally and to have abortions, according to a report released yesterday by the Guttmacher Institute.

The decline appears to have slowed the reduction in the national abortion rate that began in the mid-1980's.

"This is turning back the clock on all the gains women have made in recent decades," Sharon L. Camp, the president of the institute, said.

Among sexually active women who were not trying to get pregnant, the percentage of those not using contraception increased to 11 percent from 7 percent from 1994 to 2001, the latest data available, according to numbers Guttmacher analyzed from the National Survey of Family Growth, a federal study.

The rise was more striking among women living below the poverty line: 14 percent were not using contraception in 2001, up from 8 percent in 1994. Better-off women — those who earned more than twice the poverty rate — were also less likely to use contraception: 10 percent did not use any in 2001, up from 7 percent in 1994.

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