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Sunday, August 29, 2010
The problem of teenage pregnancy in the United States can be stated in the form of a paradox: the more
it has been solved, the worse it has gotten. In metaphorical terms—it looks as if somebody is pouring gasoline
on the fire.
Does the solution perhaps lie in more sex education classes? Not according to the U.S. Secretary of
Education, William J. Bennett. "Seventy percent of all high-school seniors had taken sex education courses in
1985, up from 60 percent in 1976,” he notes. "Yet when we look at what is happening in the sexual lives of
American students, we can only conclude that it is doubtful that much sex education is doing any good at all."
Consider the statistics, described by Bennett as "little short of staggering":
• By the time they are 17 more than half of America's teenagers have had sexual intercourse.
• There are more than a million teenage pregnancies in the United States each year. Nearly half of the teenagers
who give birth are under 18.
• Between 1960 and 1980 teenage births doubled.
• While the rate of teenage pregnancy is at or near an all-time high, the teenage birthrate declined 25 percent
between 1970 and 1984. This was accomplished by a doubling of the teenage abortion rate. Over 400,000
teenage girls a year have abortions in the United States.
• As matters stand now, 40 percent of today's 14 year-old girls will become pregnant by the time they are 19.
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