Archive for ‘teen pregnancy’

May 4, 2009

The Demographics of Dhimmitude


March 20, 2009

U.S. spawns record number of bastards

No, we’re not talking about Tim Geithner or Chris Dodd, but those 1,714,643 babies born to unmarried women in 2007, according to the National Center for Health Statistics (PDF). Way to go ladies! Just glut the market with free milk so nobody can sell a cow! And congratulations is also due to America’s teenage boys and all you other guys who like to shag teenage girls, the New York Times reports:

Also in 2007, for the second straight year and in a trend health officials find worrisome, the rate of births to teenagers rose slightly after declining by one-third from 1991 to 2005.

Score! And of course, we must celebrate diversity:

Racial and ethnic differences remain large: 28 percent of white babies were born to unmarried mothers in 2007, compared with 51 percent of Hispanic babies and 72 percent of black babies. The shares of births to unwed mothers among whites and Hispanics have climbed faster than the share among blacks, but from lower starting points.

More bastards, more knocked-up teenagers — the future of Weimar America looks bright!

February 17, 2009

And then her mom cut off her allowance . . .

(BUMPED; UPDATED) Bristol Palin:

“I think abstinence is, like — like, the — I don’t know how to put it — like, the main — everyone should be abstinent or whatever, but it’s not realistic at all.”

Like, totally duh. Couldn’t keep her britches on, and any expectation that she would keep her britches on was “not realistic.” Any expectation that we won’t eventually see tabloid photos of Levi Johnston slamming jello shots with strippers in an Anchorage bar — also “not realistic at all.”

UPDATE: Some of the commenters are scolding me for being . . . too judgmental. Look, I have three teenagers myself, a 19-year-old daughter and twin 16-year-old sons. Being judgmental is a full-time occupation, OK? I just put one of my 16-year-old boys onto a plane to visit relatives in Ohio, where he’s also got a blonde girlfriend. When I called his cell phone before he boarded the plane, what was the last thing I told him? “Keep it in your britches, son.”

Understand that sexy is a hereditary condition, so it’s not like the boy won’t encounter temptation. But something else is hereditary, too: Extreme fecundity.

My wife is one of seven children in her family, and we’ve got six kids, so there’s really no such thing as “safe sex” with this crew. I’ve had to have this little talk with my daughter and her boyfriend, much to their embarrassment. It’s about 100% certain they’re not having sex, because if they were, there’s a 99% chance I’d be a grandpa by now.

As to the efficacy of “abstinence education” as practiced in public schools, I am not in a position to judge. But how hard is it to tell a teenager, “Keep your britches on“? And how hard is that to do? It’s an instruction so simple that even a teenager can remember.

So excuse my judgmentalism if I think that maybe at some point Bristol and Levi should have noticed they weren’t wearing any pants, and that they should have recognized this as a signal their gametes might soon combine to form a zygote. There’s 6 billion people on this planet, which suggests the efficiency with which gametes combine when two young lovers forget to keep their britches on.

BRISTOL: “Levi., you’re not wearing pants.”
LEVI: “You noticed, huh?”
BRISTOL: “Well, yeah. I did. Like, totally.”
LEVI: “Yeah. And guess what?”
BRISTOL: “What?”
LEVI: “You’re not wearing pants, either!”
BRISTOL: “Oh. My. God.”
LEVI: “Heh. Heh. Heh.”
BRISTOL: “I can’t believe I’m not wearing pants!”
LEVI: “Incredible.”
BRISTOL: “I’m not wearing pants. You’re not wearing pants. How did this happen?”
LEVI: “Uh . . . stuff happens.”
BRISTOL: “Yeah, I guess so. What do we do now?”
LEVI: “Hmmmm. I’ve got an idea . . .”

And so it goes. Two teenagers, mysteriously pantsless, and then — suddenly — pregnant. A sequence of events so baffling, so bizarre that it could only happen in . . . THE TWILIGHT ZONE!

UPDATE II: Gabriel Malor at AOSHQ salutes Bristol as “one brave woman,” and is echoed by Ed Morrissey hailing her “courage.” Yes, the admirable courage of misplacing your pants and then going on national TV to tell the world that it’s “more accepted” to misplace your pants and “not realistic” to keep your pants on. Also, Ed has video of Bristol talking tabloids:

Having taken plenty of abuse for being ardently pro-Palin, no amount of politics can compel me to call a spade an “entrenching implement.” And as someone who has complained loudly and often about double standards in the media, I refuse to suspend my judgmentalism because this particular unwed mother is named “Bristol Palin” and not “LaShonda Watts” or “Maria Gonzales.”

UPDATE III: Now frequent commenter Thirteen28 brings up the common problem with teenage boys: Testosterone-induced dementia, also known as Constant Tumescence Syndrome (CTS). Having suffered a severe case of this dread disorder — the condition persisted well into my 20s, a rare phenomenon chronicled as a case study in various medical journals — I am sympathetic.

However, as a father, sympathy must be put aside so that CTS does not lead to two related adolescent maladies, Hymen Disappearance Disorder and the pandemic knockedupicus virus.

As a conservative, I believe that human beings (a species that includes even that beastly subspecies, homo pimplicus adolesens) respond to incentives. Therefore the teenage Lothario, when calculating the cost-benefit analysis of nailing my daughter, must consider the negative incentive of being perforated by 12-gauge double-aught buckshot. (Five in the magazine, one in the chamber.)

Had I been married to the governor of Alaska . . . Wait. Let’s pause to contemplate that hypothetical. . . . As I was saying, had I been married to the governor of Alaska, the “scandal” would have played out in headlines like this:


. . . and this:


. . . and, perhaps, ending with this:

Prosecutors Denounce ‘Jury Nullification’;
Defendant: ‘That Hoodlum Needed Killing’

Forget about “abstinence education.” If you want to reduce teen pregnancy, you’ll get more results from marksmanship training for fathers.

UPDATE IV: Donald Douglas approves of the extreme judgmentalism.


February 11, 2009

Imported poverty

Immigration has consequences:

Utah’s Latina teens have an alarmingly high birth rate: They are nearly four times more likely than other 15- to 17-year-olds to have a baby.
The Utah Department of Health is releasing the report on Latino health disparities today as part of a series exploring the challenges facing Utah minorities.
It shows that while nearly 18 of every 1,000 girls ages 15 to 17 in the general Utah population had a baby in 2006-07, 66 of 1,000 Latinas had one.
The implications go beyond those teens’ immediate futures. National data show Latina teen moms are more likely to drop out of high school than other teen mothers, and teen mothers are more likely to be on welfare. Children of teen mothers are more likely to live in poverty and have educational and social problems and are more likely to become teen parents themselves.

I’ve written about this seldom-acknowledged consequence of our immigration problem, but our political system can’t address it, because any politician who opens his mouth about the demographics of teen pregnancy is immediately targeted as a racist xenophobic nativist bigot.

“Teen pregnancy,” per se, is not the problem. As Maggie Gallagher has pointed out, the real problem is unwed pregnancy. Yet as a society, we spend millions to discourage “teen pregnancy,” even while celebrating single motherhood (a subject that Ann Coulter addresses in her new book).

There is a cultural factor involved that nobody wants to talk about, even when you have 14-year-old brides being bartered for beer in California. And the fact that this story about Latina teen pregnancy rates is coming out of Utah highlights the unaddressed double standard. On the one hand, when the polygamous FLDS cult relocated to Texas, the Texas legislature actually raised their state’s age of consent from 14 to 16, in order to outlaw the cult’s known practice of marrying off young teenage girls. And yet Texas led the nation in teen pregnancy in 2004 — and it wasn’t because of fundamentalist Mormons, OK? Like I said, if Texas is going to stage a paramilitary raid every time a 15-year-old gets pregnant, they’re going to need to hire a lot more SWAT officers.

Given the seriousness of our nation’s demographic crisis, one could argue — and I actually have argued — that we probably need more teen pregnancy, and if it weren’t for Hispanic immigrants, the U.S. birth rate would still be below replacement level. Yet while liberals demand that we spend millions of taxpayer dollars on teen-pregnancy prevention, they simultaneously demand that we have open borders, so as to import more teen pregnacy. And if anybody tries to talk about this in a realistic way, they’re denounced by liberals as “hatemongers.”

Given these contradictory messages from liberals — unlimited immigration, good; teen pregnancy, bad; honest policy discussion, hate — one must question either their sanity, their intelligence or their bona fides.

February 1, 2009


“Nothing catches an editor’s eye like a good rape.”
Hunter S. Thompson

Remember that New York Times piece last week about how “experts” said the rise in teen pregnancy didn’t really represent any increase in teen promiscuity? Now, a noted authority on the subject is raising doubts:

Well, that settles it, eh? Despite the blip in teen pregnancy, teenagers actually aren’t screwing around so much. Another “myth” busted by the New York Times!
The skeptical reader raises an eyebrow. Less teen sex, more teen mothers? Skepticism is arguably justified. Social science cannot provide a perfect measurement of how much sex teenagers are actually having. The fundamental problem is the reliability of self-reported survey data about sex. “Sex being an extremely private matter, it is nearly impossible to verify self-reported data about sexual behavior, and some self-reports are certainly false,” as one noted authority recently wrote.
In contrast to the necessary ambiguity of self-reported survey results, birth statistics are solid data, and that data confirms that some teenagers are, we might say, living la vida loca.

Perhaps you haven’t yet guessed the identity of that “noted authority,” so you’ll have to read my latest Taki’s Magazine column to find out.


January 11, 2009

‘Science’ and teen sex

Thursday, I wrote about how liberals were spinning the latest teen pregnancy statistics as an argument against abstinence education. I had missed Bill McGurn’s take on how research results have been misrepresented in the media:

A medical journal starts it off by announcing a study comparing teens who take a pledge of virginity until marriage with those who don’t. Lo and behold, when they crunch the numbers, they find not much difference between pledgers and nonpledgers: most do not make it to the marriage bed as virgins.
Like a pack of randy 15-year-old boys, the press dives right in.
“Virginity Pledges Don’t Stop Teen Sex,” screams CBS News. “Virginity pledges don’t mean much,” adds CNN. “Study questions virginity pledges,” says the Chicago Tribune. “Premarital Abstinence Pledges Ineffective, Study Finds,” heralds the Washington Post. “Virginity Pledges Fail to Trump Teen Lust in Look at Older Data,” reports Bloomberg. And on it goes.
In other words, teens will be teens, and moms or dads who believe that concepts such as restraint or morality have any application today are living in a dream world. Typical was the lead for the CBS News story: “Teenagers who take virginity pledges are no less sexually active than other teens, according to a new study.”
Here’s the rub: It just isn’t true.

Liberal reporters, McGurn explains, don’t look past the bullet-points on the press release to examine the underlying methodology of the study. The researchers pulled some hocus-pocus by comparing the pledge-taking teens not with the general population of teenagers, but rather with a “control” group who were matched demographically and socio-economically with the pledgers:

The first to notice something lost in the translation was Dr. Bernadine Healy, the former head of both the Red Cross and the National Institutes of Health. Today she serves as health editor for U.S. News & World Report. And in her dispatch on this study, Dr. Healy pointed out that “virginity pledging teens were considerably more conservative in their overall sexual behaviors than teens in general — a fact that many media reports have missed cold.”

In interviewing professionals in the science/medical/health fields, I’ve found they are almost unanimous in loathing the way the MSM report on research. Often, research that merely indicates a possible correlation between two facts — say, between coffee drinking and cancer rates — ends up with a headline implying that scientists have proved a cause-and-effect relationship: Coffee prevents cancer!

What is true in reporting on medical and scientific research is even more true in reporting on social science research. As one criminologist has remarked, social scientists can “prove” anything. Trying to isolate cause-and-effect in sociological research (which is what this abstinence-education study purports to do) is a damned difficult task. There is a disturbing tendency among liberal journalists to cherry-pick research — hyping research that seems to confirm their own biases and downplaying contradictory results.

Given the high correlation between delaying sexual activity and positive socioeconomic outcomes (i.e., completing high school, obtaining full-time employment, avoiding drug abuse, etc.), there is clearly a social good to be obtained by discouraging teen sex. Much of the media, however, think of this as a “Republican” or “conservative” objective, and therefore bring to bear the usual liberal bias. Since when did it become “liberal” to be indifferent to kids messing up their lives?

UPDATE: Laura Gallier of Inspiring Abstinence e-mails:

I see a huge contradiction in the medias’ response to the issue of teen sex, two primary contradictions to be exact. For one, the media cries out for answers when teen pregnancy rates are on the rise but then seems to go out of their way to undermine abstinence programs. Two, the same media that reports that we must find answers to the teen sex crises then turns around and includes sexually based images and comments in nearly everything they produce.

Indeed, one of the rich ironies is how TV producers, on the one hand, claim that their sex-saturated programming doesn’t influence kids’ behavior, but on the other hand, collect billions in advertising revenue by telling clients that a 30-second commercial can influence consumer behavior. Either TV influences behavior or it does not, so which is it?

BTW, Ms. Gallier is the author of a new book about abstinence called Choosing to Wait: A Guide to Inspiring Abstinence.

January 8, 2009

Teen pregnancy: fact vs. spin

The Associated Press:

Mississippi now has the nation’s highest teen birth rate, displacing Texas and New Mexico for that lamentable title, a new federal report says. . . .
The three states have large proportions of black and Hispanic teenagers — groups that traditionally have higher birth rates, experts noted.

Indeed, and if you take a little time to examine the actual CDC report, what you find is that the birth rate (births per 1,000) for females 15-19 breaks down like this:


Ergo, states where blacks and Hispanics constitute a large proportion of the 15-19 population will tend to have high rates of teen pregnancy. Furthermore, the category “Hispanic” encompasses many nationalities, with varying rates of teen pregnancy, so that for instance, those of Mexican origin have a teen birth rate of 92.9, while Puerto Ricans have a teen birth rate of 69.3.

A bit of Census research reveals that the population of Mississippi is 37.1% black and 1.8% Hispanic, whereas Texas is 11.9% black and 35.7% Hispanic, and New Mexico is 2.5% black and 44.0% Hispanic. By comparison, the state with the lowest teen birth rate, New Hampshire, is 95.8% white.

The obvious conclusion, then, is that demographics has a powerful influence on teen pregnancy. Ah, unless you’re a liberal fanatic:

While the new report does not explain why [Mississippi’s] teen pregnancy rate is increasing, one reason may be the poor quality of its sex ed programs. As the Sexuality Information and Education Center explains, Mississippi focuses heavily on abstinence education and teachers are prohibited from demonstrating how to use contraceptives . . .

Right. So what about Gov. Bill Richardson’s progressive paradise New Mexico, huh? The teen birth rate there is 64 per 1,000, compared to Mississippi’s 68 per 1,000. Why aren’t liberals excoriating New Mexico? (Crickets chirping.)

UPDATE: Linked at RCP Best of the Blogs.

UPDATE II: Linked at Nashville Post. BTW, I would like to point out that I personally don’t consider it a social tragedy every time a 19-year-old gets pregnant. Unwed pregnancy is more of a problem than teen pregnancy, per se. Maggie Gallagher did a must-read report on this subject 10 years ago. Also, see my post on Famous Teenage Mothers.

UPDATE III: To argue briefly with commenter Richard: Sex education is redundant, wasteful and intrusive. Are we really supposed to believe that the teenage girl who gets pregnant doesn’t know that sex causes pregnancy? We are living in a society where accurate information about sex has never been more widely available. Any 12-year-old can go to Borders (or the school library) and find a dozen or more books on the birds-and-bees stuff, to say nothing of what’s available on the Internet.

If teenagers are getting pregnant, ignorance cannot be the explanation, so what is it that schools need to educate them about? How to use a condom? Last time I looked, every box of condoms had illustrated instructions on proper usage. If you are too stupid to use a condom properly maybe . . . I don’t know . . . you shouldn’t be having sex. Yet our enlightened elites insist that anybody who wants schools to focus on telling kids they shouldn’t be having sex — “Hey Kids: Keep Your Britches On!” — is an irresponsible, anti-science Taliban fundamentalist.

Some people have an annoyingly tautological certainty about the importance of teaching kids the Latin names of their genitalia — vulva, clitoris, etc., being pretty much the only Latin taught in schools anymore — as if there were some intrinsic value in that knowledge. It’s like believing that, unless you teach kids the Latin names of their digestive organs, they won’t be able to eat properly. And yet, in all the debate over sex ed, nobody ever seems to notice the manifest absurdity of that premise.

The advocates of “compehensive sexuality education” (CSE) are not really concerned about addressing any meaningful deficit of useful knowledge. Rather, the CSE agenda is about inculcating a certain attitude toward sex, which is where we encounter the problem of intrusiveness. CSE advocates want to establish as Officially Approved Attitude about sex — a PC sexual dogma — and, if you actually take time to read their esoteric literature (as I have), they aren’t even secretive about this goal. It is very much about telling people what to think.

The whole point of the sex-ed agenda from Kinsey onward has been to eradicate “old-fashioned” (i.e., “Puritanical” or “Victorian”) attitudes toward sex, and they mean to accomplish this through the coercive action of government-imposed education. I am certainly no prudish Victorian, but my inner libertarian is profoundly hostile to schools propagandizing children in this fashion, especially since the schools go out of their way to deceive parents about the actual content and purpose of sex-ed.

UPDATE IV: Linked at American Power.

July 22, 2008

Famous teenage mothers

Checking SiteMeter just now, I noticed that someone had reached my post, “In praise of teenage motherhood” via a Google search for the term “famous teenage mothers.” Given this evidence of curiosity on the topic, let me cite my two all-time favorite teen mothers:

  • Loretta Lynn — Loretta Webb of Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, was only 13 when she married Doolittle “Mooney” Lynn. She was a mother of four before she turned 18. She cut her first record when she was 25, and subsequently recorded 16 No. 1 country hits, including classics like “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind),” her duets with Conway Twitty (among them “After the Fire Is Gone” and “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man”), and her autobiographical signature tune, “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”
  • Margaret Beaufort — Her grandfather, the Earl of Somerset, was a bastard son of John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster, and Margaret’s own father died when she was a year old. She was originally betrothed as a child to the 9-year-old Duke of Suffolk, but that union was annulled and, at age 12, Margaret became the bride of 24-year-old Edmund Tudor. Within a year, while putting down an insurrection in his native Wales, Edmund died, leaving behind a 13-year-old widow who was seven months pregnant with a son she would name Henry. Because the boy was of royal blood, he was forced to flee England during the subsequent War of the Roses over the succession to the crown of Henry VI. During the bloody reign of Richard III, Margaret conspired, with the aid of her third husband, Sir Thomas Stanley, to place her son on the throne and, after emerging the victor at the Battle of Bosworth Field, Henry Tudor was crowned King Henry VII.

By all accounts, Margaret was a pious Christian woman of tremendous learning — praised for her fine penmanship in an era when literacy among women was rare — and, during her son’s reign, became a patron of education, including a generous gift to Oxford University. The student of Margaret’s life will discover that, though records clearly establish her birth at Bledsoe Castle in 1443, some sources list her as being born in 1441, evidently the result of efforts by Victorian-era authors to obscure the fact that she was married at 12.

At any rate, these two ladies — Loretta Lynn and Margaret Beaufort — are a neat historical rebuke to those who insist that teen motherhood must inevitably lead to trailer-park trashdom. Margaret was the teenage mother who gave her country a king. Loretta, of course, became famous as the Queen of Country.

UPDATE 7/23: A reader writes to call my attention to an article by Frederica Mathews-Green:

A woman’s fertility has already begun to decline at 25–one reason the population-control crowd promotes delayed childbearing. . . .
Humans are designed to reproduce in their teens, and they’re potentially very good at it. That’s why they want to so much.
Teen pregnancy is not the problem. Unwed teen pregnancy is the problem.
It’s childbearing outside marriage that causes all the trouble. Restore an environment that supports younger marriage, and you won’t have to fight biology for a decade or more.

The same reader all calls to my attention a liberal writer in Australia who shares a more positive attitude toward teen motherhood:

Our norms are also dominated by the ideology of materialism that is moving women further and further towards unnatural behaviour, pressuring them to have babies later rather than sooner.
This is society’s real problem. Teenage pregnancy is trivial by comparison to suppressed pregnancy.
A healthier society would allow women to have children earlier than they do now. At 32, no matter what people want to believe, the reproductive system is far less robust than it was 10 years earlier.

The Australian liberal prescribes government subsidies for daycare as the solution, a statist approach that I reject. The problem is essentially one of culture, not government policy or economics — but let’s not spoil a bipartisan moment with an argument. And since we seem to be in the “recommended reading” part of the discussion, let me recommend Bethany Torode’s “Confessions of a Teenage Mom.”