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Too Much Religion Leads to High Teen Pregnancy Rates

September 18, 2009 11:37 AM ET | Bonnie Erbe | Permanent Link | Print

By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

Is this a surprise to anybody? The following was posted on rhrealitycheck.org Thursday:

U.S. states whose residents have more conservative religious beliefs on average tend to have higher rates of teenagers giving birth, according to a new study forthcoming in the journal Reproductive Health.

It's not surprising to me, because most of those "religious" states are also so-called red states. Generalizations are always dangerous, but lack of education, low or no income, and increased religiosity tend to intertwine and build on each other. Take one of the most egregious examples known.

It's been widely reported that Middle Eastern terrorists talk suicide bombers into committing murder by explaining to them that they will be heroes in heaven, their after-life reward will be that they are treated like kings and have all the advantages that elude them here on earth. These promises are believed by people with no money, no education, and nothing to hold onto but their religious beliefs.

One other, possibly more interesting development released in this new study is that the children of teen mothers are more likely to have mental health issues:

The children of teen mothers have been reported to have higher rates of several unfavorable mental health outcomes. Past research suggests several possible mechanisms for an association between religiosity and teen birth rate in communities.

That is not as widely known as is the relationship between religiosity and unwed pregnancy. It is an unfortunate development.

I must say, however, that I have long questioned why it is that "abstinence only" sex education proponents were able to win billions of dollars in federal support in this day and age. Yes, much of that came from President George W. Bush. But it actually started with President Bill Clinton, and continues today (at lower levels) with President Barack Obama. Can you imagine what would happen if liberals pushed for "complete, biologically accurate sex education only"? America's right would go apoplectic


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I think its moreso a reflection upon overly religious parenting. When those folks project too much religion in the home upon their children (which is their right as a parent) that is what piques the curiosity in their children about the unknown or the "forbidden". It seems like human nature to feel curious about some things, especially when someone tells you that its bad for you and that you shouldn't do it.

Its especially bad when people balk at those sex education classes. It's a travesty when you have children with raging hormones with no information about the changes in their bodies and with parents who don't want to discuss in-depth or not at all about sex.

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Don't judge a religion by a select number of its followers. Judge the religion by what it contains.

Even those who aren't religious practice hypocrisy. It's not exclusive to those who are religious. We all do things that we know are wrong during moments of weakness. Whether in religion or in general.

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