States With Most Born Again Christians Have Highest Teen Pregnancy Rates

September 18, 2009

(ChattahBox)—A teenage girl living in Mississippi has a much greater chance of becoming a teen mother, according to a new study that found the U.S. states having the most Evangelical Christian residents also have the highest rates of teen pregnancies.

The higher teen pregnancies are attributed to the promotion of abstinence-only sex education, by conservative Christian states combined with the failure to discourage teens from having sex.

The study entitled, “Religiosity and teen birth rate in the United States,” is published in the current issue of the journal Reproductive Health, and shows a direct correlation between religiosity and higher rates of teen pregnancies.

The researchers, Joseph M Strayhorn and Jillian C Strayhorn, analyzed several sources of publicly available data. The data on teen birth rates and abortion originated from the Center for Disease Control; on income, from the U.S. Bureau of the Census, and on religious beliefs, from the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey carried out by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

The researchers used eight questions on religion for their study, asked by the Pew survey, breaking down the positive answers affirming religious beliefs by state. The survey asked participants such questions, as whether Scripture should be taken literally, word for word, whether they often experienced answers to their prayers and the importance of God in their life.

The researchers concluded that, accounting for differnt income levels and abortion rates, conservative Christian beliefs are strongly linked to higher teen pregnancy rates.

“At the level of states in the U.S., conservative religious beliefs predict teen birth rates highly and significantly; the correlation remains high and significant after controlling for income and estimated rates of abortion,” said the authors of the study.

The study found that teen pregnancy had far reaching and long term consequences. The social and cultural stigma associated with teen mothers extends to their children who have higher rates of several unfavorable mental health outcomes.

Additionally, teen pregnancy becomes a vicious cycle, with daughters of teen mothers more likely to become teen mothers themselves.

The children of teen mothers are also more likely to do poorly in school, suffer from poor physical health, become victims of abuse and neglect, and are almost three times more likely to be incarcerated during adolescence.

This study provides more evidence that the eight years of abstinence-only sex education for teens under the Bush administration, was not only a dismal failure, but also contributed towards a new generation of teen mothers.

The full article can be found here.


Comments

13 Responses to “States With Most Born Again Christians Have Highest Teen Pregnancy Rates”

  1. Valuable Internet Information » States With Most Born Again Christians Have Highest Teen Pregnancy Rates on September 18th, 2009 7:58 pm

    […] View original here: States With Most Born Again Christians Have Highest Teen Pregnancy Rates […]

  2. johnny riley on September 18th, 2009 8:03 pm

    I believe this because they don’t abort[murder} their babies!

  3. olivia on September 18th, 2009 8:35 pm

    Johnny – Actually, it might have something to do with the pregnancies to begin with. Considering there is an ‘abstinence only’ approach to contraception.

    I would also like to point out that the statistics of teen abortions are actually rather low, with significant decline over the last two decades. There are now around 26 abortions per 1000 teen girls in the overall US. That seems to kind of blow that theory out of the water, don’t you think?

    This is especially true since several conservative states have the highest abortion rates in the country, and also some of the highest rates of Christians.

    Don’t believe me?

    http://www.childtrendsdatabank.org/indicators/27TeenAbortions.cfm

    http://womensissues.about.com/od/datingandsex/a/TeenAbortRates.htm

    You can make as many baseless accusations to try to turn it another way, but the fact is abstinence-only sex education does more harm then good, and just as many Christian teens are having sex as any other teens. The difference is, the other teens are more likely to use proper protection.

  4. Sue on September 18th, 2009 9:49 pm

    Thank you for the informative comment Olivia!

    Johnny if you read my piece, as well as the linked study, you would have noticed that the study accounted for disparities in both abortion rates and income levels.

    Sue

  5. Joy on September 18th, 2009 11:22 pm

    At least someone in America is having babies, and is pro life! yeah!

  6. olivia on September 19th, 2009 10:17 am

    Joy – LOL. Oh yes, because it is only Pro-Life advocates who have babies. In fact, Pro-Choice really means Pro-Abortion, and all we do is sit around and have unprotected sex all day, and have regular abortions. Hell, my two kids must have been complete ACCIDENTS, because, clearly, I had meant to abort them but missed my window of opportunity!

    In fact, Liberals never have children, and we plan ways on creating more pregnancies that will lead to more abortion, because it is fun!

    You are an idiot, Joy, and you have just shown yourself incapable of reasoning out an argument.

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  9. Mary Halloran on September 21st, 2009 12:46 pm

    While, personally I agree with your “slant” in your article, I read the report and I noticed a major reporting error on your part.

    “The study found that teen pregnancy had far reaching and long term consequences. The social and cultural stigma associated with teen mothers extends to their children who have higher rates of several unfavorable mental health outcomes.

    Additionally, teen pregnancy becomes a vicious cycle, with daughters of teen mothers more likely to become teen mothers themselves.

    The children of teen mothers are also more likely to do poorly in school, suffer from poor physical health, become victims of abuse and neglect, and are almost three times more likely to be incarcerated during adolescence.”

    This study NEVER addressed these issues. The authors merely listed other studies who dealt with these issues as background information as to why they chose to perform their study.

    I noticed that you also failed to include the author’s warning that these results cannot safely be applied to individuals.

  10. Julianna on October 3rd, 2009 6:16 pm

    I was a 36-year-old single when I had my exquisite and wonderful daughter. When she was 13, she was attending a “magnet” school, which also had a large percentage of minority kids who unfortunately have a higher than usual teen birth rate, per statistics, and may have been themselves children of teen parent(s). This school, being in conservative, deeply fundamentalist Texas, advocated abstinence-only education for all teens/pre-teens. A man named Ed Ames came to speak to a general student assembly one day, and told the kids that if they were born out of wedlock, they were a mistake. My daughter chewed on this for several weeks before talking to me about it, and needless to say, she was deeply hurt and confused, being hit with this sort of attitude from an adult when her own hormones and thoughts were beginning their tumultuous ride through the hell of teenagership that presides in America. I went ballistic. Her father, with whom I remain good friends, also was deeply upset by this, to the point where he went to the school and confronted the principle. There was never any reaction to the parental outrage – and there was LOTS of outrage over this. There was never a rebuttal, never an apology to these kids, from a really sick man who should have known better. To me this is perverse.
    I think that if the love of God was truly present in any fundamentalist state, there would be a lot more talking to kids about sex and the ramifications of it, a whole lot less condemnation, and a widening of the teaching of personal responsibility for ALL actions, not just sexual actions. I find that on the whole, teens are remarkably good at understanding concepts, that they are not stupid, and that they are human, and just like everyone else on this planet, they make mistakes. It would be a huge benefit to mankind if the birthrate plummeted in general, and teens are the cutting edge in any movement – they take things to heart, and they do actually think bout them. At his point in their beautiful lives, they don’t need the horror of narrow thinking, they don’t need to be taught that there is only one way when it’s obvious that there are as many ways as there are humans, and they certainly don’t need to carry the burden of adult responsibilities that having children carries. We can teach them not to have kids, while they are kids themselves, and not damage them the way this “deeply religious” guy did.

  11. Why Are Conservative Christian Teens More Likely to Get Pregnant? | On the Fence with Jesus on May 13th, 2010 1:29 am

    […] Study Finds Strong Correlation Between Conservative Christian Beliefs and Teen Pregnancy […]

  12. JH on February 14th, 2011 2:38 am

    Well who would have thought (mark my irony). It is only lately I have understood why religions have such an obsession with sex, and that is not a pretty picture.

    Instead of being rational and accept one of the better parts of life, lets play a blame game and put lifelong complexes in to peoples mind. what a pathetic excuse for a beliefsystem.

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    […] and, even, a sense of cultural superiority, along with a way to convince our kids not to have sex (which isn’t really working, by the […]

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