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Author Topic: Obama's budget kills funding for abstinence-only sex ed
kmbboots
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Christine, that is what I thought you were saying, too.
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Darth_Mauve
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I see a whole problem with this debate is three things:

1) Doom Sayers from both sides drumming up conscripts for the battle--"They are teaching our 3rd Graders all about Sex, as in how to, when, where, and that its safe and fun and moral." vs "They want to teach our kids NO and treat Hell as both an STD and a Contraceptive. They want our kids kept ignorant on the subject to fit their own morality."

Yet what I hear here is both sides in agreement. Teaching Abstinence Only is not going to work. Teaching Abstinence Never is not going to work.

2 and 3 are the two different ways people look at a situation. One is a clinical, engineering approach of "How do we fix this thing." The other is a moralistic approach, "Why does this happen."

The How people define the problems--teen pregnancy and STD transmittal--and have solutions ranging from the spread of important information to the spread of contraceptives. They seek concrete results.

The Why people define the problem--premarital and non-monogamous sex. Their answer was a moral one. Don't have sex.

Abstinence solves both the How and Why problems, but is hard to enforce. It can be taken to the Middle-Easter Extremes of never allowing an unmarried woman to travel any where without an escort of one of her family. That still has failures of the system--even when they add honor killings into the system.

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katharina
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Staying abstinent does not require killing anyone.

No method of control is easy to enforce. All of them require the internal motivation of the people having sex - short of forced IUDs, vasectomies, or depo prevera shots, "enforcement" isn't an option for any of them.

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The Rabbit
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I just looked at some statistics and discovered a few interesting things. First I looked a state by state statistics for teenage pregnancies, births and abortions. Contrary to what I've heard, Utah, where Mormonism is the dominant culture, falls far below the national average in all of these. In Utah there are 53 pregnancies for girls/women between the ages of 15 and 19. The national average is 84. Its also has the lowest rate of STDs in the nation. Even if every 15-17 year who gets an abortion in Nevada is actually from Utah, Utah barely makes the national average. Claims that abstinence fails 50% of the time are pretty ridiculous, at least within among Mormons. I suspect if you looked at Orthodox Jews and other religious groups that place a very strong emphasis on abstaining from sex before marriage you would see similar things.

But it is worth noting that Mormons and Jews don't abstain from sex before marriage solely or even primarily as a means of birth control or to avoid STDs. We do it out of strong moral convictions. The idea that people who don't have those convictions are likely to be able to adhere to a code of abstinence because of some things said in a school class is very fanciful. As I see it, that is the big reason for making a distinction between being "pro abstinence" and "pro abstinence-only-education." Schools should absolutely teach complete scientifically correct information about human sexuality include methods to reduce the chances of pregnancy and the spread of STDs.

Interestingly, ten regions with the highest teen pregnancy rates (in order) are DC, Nevada, Arizona, Mississippi, New Mexico, Texas, Florida, California and Georgia. There are a lot of things going on in that list including poverty, race, and religion but it is worth noting that the list includes both religiously conservative states and largely secular liberals states like California. I would be interested in seeing a breakdown of teen pregnancy rates in those areas based on socio-economic, religious and racial groups. I think it would shed some light on the issue. There is a strong tendency for states in the Bible belt to have teenage pregnancy rates that are above the national average. The only exceptions were Kentucky and Missouri which are sort of on the fringe of the bible belt anyway. I wonder if the emphasis on grace over works in the Bible Belt weakens the moral case for abstinence.

I'm also curious about the Nevada stats. They may be skewed by the states liberal abortion policy (i.e. people from neighboring states may be coming to Nevada for abortions) and the abortion rate in Nevada is higher than the national average, but Nevada ranks in the top ten for live births to teen age mothers as well so that isn't the only thing going on.

Anecdotally, I have a couple of close friends whose 19 - 20 year old children have gotten pregnant before marriage. They have all been very secular, open about sexuality and encouraged birth control. It seems that teens and young adults have at least as much trouble with consistent correct use of birth control as they do with abstinence.

I also know a couple Mormon women who got pregnant before they were married who admitted that they didn't use birth control despite getting into a pattern of frequent sexual activity because that would have made it seem like they planned to do something they believed was wrong. If they weren't using birth control, they could tell themselves that they had just lost control which seemed somehow less wrong than planning it.

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Juxtapose
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Just for clarity, what I meant with the 50% thing was that 50% eventually have sex, not 50% eventually get pregnant.
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King of Men
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I think you might find that something like 99.5% of people eventually have sex. Perhaps you meant "sex before marriage"?
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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
I can dig that, and even agree now that the appropriate qualifiers and whatnot are being used.

*nods

Yeah, for sure. I recognize and hail heartily a fellow stickler for precision and accuracy. [Smile]

---

Edited to add: J, sometimes I forget to tell you how delightful it is to bounce ideas back and forth with you. I feel at a decided loss when you aren't around, and I'm glad we've had more of a chance lately here and there to get together.

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Juxtapose
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quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
I think you might find that something like 99.5% of people eventually have sex. Perhaps you meant "sex before marriage"?

Yes.
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
... Contrary to what I've heard, Utah, where Mormonism is the dominant culture, falls far below the national average in all of these. In Utah there are 53 pregnancies for girls/women between the ages of 15 and 19. The national average is 84 ...

For comparison for Canadian readers:
quote:
For Canada, which had the lowest rates for all years, the birth/abortion rate for women under age 20 declined from 38.3 per 1,000 in 1990 to 26.6 in 2003. It is notable that in 1990 Canada’s birth/abortion rate was considerably lower than that of England and Wales and dramatically lower than that of the U.S. and that after over a decade of declines in all three countries, Canada’s rate in 2003 remains less than half the rate in either the U.S. or England and Wales.

http://www.beststart.org/events/detail/bsannualconf08/presentations/PC1_mckay.pdf
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Puppy
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Maybe population density is a factor [Smile] Cram more people together in a tight space, and more babies pop out ...
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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by Vyrus:
Some less severe STD's can still be acquired through unsanitary living conditions



I'm guessing you might be referring to infestations with pubic lice or pubic scabies, both of which are usually categorized under STDs***. Or maybe the transmission of what was previously thought of a "genital herpes" orally? (I know in some places, the genetic typing has switched -- the type that used to be thought of as a genital STD is now the more common form found in the mouth, and vice versa.)

Pubic lice and scabies can be transmitted through clothing, non-sexual contact, etc. But the mucus-membrane-associated infections we often are thinking of under the umbrella of STDs (such as gonorrhea) aren't so much transmitted by non-sexual contact. The obvious exceptions being HIV and Hepatitis B through other blood-blood or some permutation of blood and mucus membrane contacts, of course.

---

Added:***e.g., this factsheet from the Minnesota Department of Public Health:

quote:
Sexually Transmitted Disease Facts: Pubic Lice (“Crabs”) and Scabies

Transmission

- Sexual contact
- Close physical contact
- Infested towels, bedding and clothing

Transmission from toilet seats is unlikely.



[ May 11, 2009, 09:11 PM: Message edited by: ClaudiaTherese ]

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Rakeesh
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Whoever came up with 'crabs from toilet seats' should've copyrighted the idea. It seems to exist in practice almost exclusively as an option to the question, "Well, you either had sex with someone else or you got it from a toilet seat. Which is it?!"

I wonder, though, if it is possible (however unlikely) to catch crabs from a toilet seat, wouldn't it also be possible to catch it from other activities? Such as sharing a poorly kept bed, or bathing in an unsanitary fashion, or something?

quote:
Edited to add: J, sometimes I forget to tell you how delightful it is to bounce ideas back and forth with you. I feel at a decided loss when you aren't around, and I'm glad we've had more of a chance lately here and there to get together.
Hmmm. Not sure if this is to me - some people call me Jay - or Juxtapose. I rather think it's to Juxtapose, since I don't think I've really exchanged ideas with you on this topic. If J is me, I'm very flattered. If it's Juxtapose, then Juxtapose should be very flattered:)
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Puppy:
Maybe population density is a factor [Smile] Cram more people together in a tight space, and more babies pop out ...

Actually, thats just an artifact of the dataset. That paper picked three Anglo-Saxon dominant countries since they thought the similar cultures would be good comparisons for each other.

If you go international:
http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/repcard3e.pdf

Page 20 shows an interesting breakdown by live births and abortions by country (albeit in 1996). Canada is decidedly middle of the pack, if not doing worse than average.

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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Hmmm. Not sure if this is to me - some people call me Jay - or Juxtapose. I rather think it's to Juxtapose, since I don't think I've really exchanged ideas with you on this topic. If J is me, I'm very flattered. If it's Juxtapose, then Juxtapose should be very flattered:)

Oh, you, although of course Juxtapose is a fine fellow in his own right. [Smile]

I always read your posts as J4, although I believe that was a former shade of self. Old dogs and new tricks, and all. We have known each other too long!

---

Added:

quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
...since I don't think I've really exchanged ideas with you on this topic.

No, I don't think so. Other areas, though, and I have learned much from you along the way.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
No, I don't think so. Other areas, though, and I have learned much from you along the way.
Well, I must be a very savvy businessman since I'm sure I've gained a lot more from that exchange:) You're very kind as usual, CT-made my night. So as not to get even more effusive, I'll just say thanks and leave it at that:)
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Tresopax
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quote:
But it is worth noting that Mormons and Jews don't abstain from sex before marriage solely or even primarily as a means of birth control or to avoid STDs. We do it out of strong moral convictions.
That brings up an important point: Before teching abstinance is going to be too effective, character needs to be taught first. At a minimum, it relies on the capacity for self-control. I'm sure a strong sense of moral convictions also helps.

Unfortunately, I think it's pretty questionable whether schools are doing a good job of teaching character, and at the family level it's going to vary a lot. Thus the effectiveness of teaching the importance of abstinance is probably going to vary a lot from student to student too.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
... Contrary to what I've heard, Utah, where Mormonism is the dominant culture, falls far below the national average in all of these. In Utah there are 53 pregnancies for girls/women between the ages of 15 and 19. The national average is 84 ...

For comparison for Canadian readers:
quote:
For Canada, which had the lowest rates for all years, the birth/abortion rate for women under age 20 declined from 38.3 per 1,000 in 1990 to 26.6 in 2003. It is notable that in 1990 Canada’s birth/abortion rate was considerably lower than that of England and Wales and dramatically lower than that of the U.S. and that after over a decade of declines in all three countries, Canada’s rate in 2003 remains less than half the rate in either the U.S. or England and Wales.

http://www.beststart.org/events/detail/bsannualconf08/presentations/PC1_mckay.pdf

It should be noted that the statistics I quoted were teen pregnancies and the statistics Mucus quotes are for live births. They are not the same. In the US in 2000, there were 48 live births per 1000, in Utah it was 39.

BTW, here is the source for my numbers.

I wonder if the difference between Canada and the US reflects differences in racial make up and poverty just like the differences in average age at first marriage. The areas in the US with the highest teen pregnancy rates have high poverty rates and a large fraction of black and hispanic residents. I really would like to see a racial and socio-economic breakdown. I think it would say a lot.

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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
quote:
But it is worth noting that Mormons and Jews don't abstain from sex before marriage solely or even primarily as a means of birth control or to avoid STDs. We do it out of strong moral convictions.
That brings up an important point: Before teching abstinance is going to be too effective, character needs to be taught first. At a minimum, it relies on the capacity for self-control. I'm sure a strong sense of moral convictions also helps.
I just don't see this issue as being so black and white. According to everything I've ever read on the subject. Teens are least likely to engage in sex and other risky behaviors when they have a supportive, loving environment at home, when they have dreams and goals, and when they are self-confident. Self-esteem is a huge part of being able to say no when the pressure is on.

The things that keep teens from having sex aren't things that can be taught in a classroom, even if it was the business of schools. It's not something that can be taught through dinner conversation, though having family dinners together is a part of a healthy home environment that helps.

And let's not forget that there are two different aspects to sex education: immediate and long-term. Keeping teens from engaging in risky sexual activity is the immediate goal, but long-term, we want our children to grow into adults who can make good choices. As teens leave home and start dating seriously (because a lot of people don't even date much or at all in high school), will they be able to choose when, where, and how to become sexually active while minimizing risks?

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:

Abstinence solves both the How and Why problems, but is hard to enforce. It can be taken to the Middle-Easter Extremes of never allowing an unmarried woman to travel any where without an escort of one of her family. That still has failures of the system--even when they add honor killings into the system.

What occurs to me is that no one can offer much or really any proof that an ignorance of the choice surrounding sex is actually beneficial to society or to individuals. Even if 100% of unmarried people we abstinent from sex, you would have to be able to show, at least for me to believe it was an efficacious practice, that it had a net benefit on individuals and on the harmonious life of society. There's no evidence to suggest that this is case, just results- the pre-marriage birth rate would be zero. Would that be better? Would the advantage in that fact outweigh any unforeseen loss? Would such a system actually be manageable?
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
For comparison for Canadian readers:
quote:
For Canada, which had the lowest rates for all years, the birth/abortion rate for women under age 20 declined from 38.3 per 1,000 in 1990 to 26.6 in 2003. It is notable that in 1990 Canada’s birth/abortion rate was considerably lower than that of England and Wales and dramatically lower than that of the U.S. and that after over a decade of declines in all three countries, Canada’s rate in 2003 remains less than half the rate in either the U.S. or England and Wales.


It should be noted that the statistics I quoted were teen pregnancies and the statistics Mucus quotes are for live births. They are not the same. In the US in 2000, there were 48 live births per 1000, in Utah it was 39.

Actually, they're for live births + abortions . The paper actually says why they removed miscarriages. The reason is that the Statscan directly tracks all of reported abortions, live births, and miscarriages while the UK data is totally missing it and the paper also specifically notes that "since no
national data is collected in the U.S. on numbers of
miscarriages, the Guttmacher Institute uses an
estimate of miscarriages based on a percentage of
live births (20%) and abortions (10%) to calculate a
teen pregnancy rate."

So they have to omit the miscarriages to make a apples to apples comparison between all three countries.

In fact, if it was live births only as you said, that would be found on page 158 and would give only 17.0 live births per 1000 in Canada in 2000.

quote:
I wonder if the difference between Canada and the US reflects differences in racial make up and poverty just like the differences in average age at first marriage. The areas in the US with the highest teen pregnancy rates have high poverty rates and a large fraction of black and hispanic residents. I really would like to see a racial and socio-economic breakdown. I think it would say a lot.
I don't know if the difference for first marriages was actually due to race and poverty. That was just a guess of mine, I think. But it sounds reasonable as a factor.

There's culture too though. I remember a Statcan paper that broke down the fertility by religion and by race. There was a substantial correlation between more intense religiosity and fertility in Canada as well as a breakdown by race and by immigrants which was more mixed. I suspect that abstinence-only education plays a role too.

That reminds me, I'll link to the appropriate sections later. I kinda forgot on the weekend.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
[QB]
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
For comparison for Canadian readers:
quote:
For Canada, which had the lowest rates for all years, the birth/abortion rate for women under age 20 declined from 38.3 per 1,000 in 1990 to 26.6 in 2003. It is notable that in 1990 Canada’s birth/abortion rate was considerably lower than that of England and Wales and dramatically lower than that of the U.S. and that after over a decade of declines in all three countries, Canada’s rate in 2003 remains less than half the rate in either the U.S. or England and Wales.


It should be noted that the statistics I quoted were teen pregnancies and the statistics Mucus quotes are for live births. They are not the same. In the US in 2000, there were 48 live births per 1000, in Utah it was 39.

Actually, they're for live births + abortions . The paper actually says why they removed miscarriages.
I'm sorry I was looking at the UNESCO report which only includes live births. The other report you link to at beststat.org is a little odd. I simply can't figure out how they come up with the 26.6 number. There are several places in the report where they list total pregnancies, live births and abortions. Based on those tables the combined births/abortions rate for women 15 to 19 is 31.5/1000.
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Teshi
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I think the majority of the time people who get pregnant by mistake in western countries are aware, one way or another, that they are putting themselves at risk of pregnancy by having unprotected sex. Sex Ed is pretty good where I live, but people still get pregnant.

Married or unmarried, they just lack the mental connection.

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Mucus
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The Rabbit: Hmmm, the Unesco report includes both at least on the page that I referenced but its a bit hard to read. You need to add up the dark and light coloured bars to get the total.

I'm not sure which table you're getting 31.5 from. But as I said, I suspect the discrepancy might be in that in the first section where they cover only Canada they use total pregnancy data from Statscan which directly tracks miscarriages+live births+abortions. However, in the second section where they make the comparison between countries they use only live births+abortions because the other countries lack this data (and in the case of the US, use estimates).

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The Rabbit
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quote:
I suspect that abstinence-only education plays a role too.
That would be harder to substantiate. Utah, North Dakota and New Hampshire have abstinence only education and yet the lowest rates of teen pregnancy in the US. Texas, Nevada and Alabama have abstinence only education and some of the highest rates of teen pregnancy. California has some of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country and does not abstinence only education. Vermont has low teen pregnancy rates and no abstinence only program. Overall, the correlation between per capita abstinence only education funding and teen pregnancy is 0.1 which isn't remotely statistically significant.

So if abstinence only education plays a role, it is a very minor role that is swamped out in all the other factors.

Mind you, I'm against abstinence only education. I think sex ed like all other education should be complete and scientifically accurate. But in support of scientific accuracy its my obligation to point out that the evidence does not suggest that abstinence only education either reduces or increases teen pregnancy rates.

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Mucus
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Possibly.

(For the earlier note) This is the report with an interesting discussion on religiosity and race as impacting the fertility rate. While we're discussing teenage pregnancy instead in this thread, I thought it would still be interesting.

It includes a breakdown by fertility rate for different racial groups in Canada as well as by religious denomination (and intensity).
http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/91-209-x/91-209-x2003000-eng.pdf

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Mucus
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Hmmm, it seems Guttmacher has an international comparison too.

http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/covers/euroteen_or.html

The report is quite hefty, but from the summary:

Some bits in general:
quote:

Differences between countries in
levels of sexual activity are too small
to account for the wide variation in
teenage pregnancy rates.
...
Less contraceptive use and less use of
hormonal methods are the primary
reasons U.S. teenagers have the highest
rates of pregnancy, childbearing
and abortion.
...

On economics:
quote:
At all socioeconomic levels, however,
U.S. youth have lower levels of contraceptive
use and higher levels of childbearing
than their peers in the other
study countries. For example, the level of
births among U.S. teenagers in the highest
income subgroup is 14% higher than
the level among similarly advantaged
teenagers in Great Britain and higher
than the overall levels in Sweden and
France. Differences are greatest among
disadvantaged youth ...

On abstinence:
quote:
•Comprehensive sexuality education,
not abstinence promotion, is emphasized
in countries with lower teenage pregnancy
levels. In Sweden, France, Great
Britain and, usually, Canada, the focus
of sexuality education is not abstinence
promotion but the provision of comprehensive
information about prevention
of HIV and other STDs; pregnancy prevention;
contraceptives and, often,
where to get them; and respect and
responsibility within relationships.
Sexuality education is mandatory in
state or public schools in England and
Wales, France and Sweden and is
taught in most Canadian schools,
although the amount of time given to
sexuality education, its content and the
extent of teacher training vary among
these countries and within them as
well. In Sweden, the country with the
lowest teenage birthrate, sexuality education
has been mandated in schools for
almost half a century, which reflects,
and promotes, the topic’s acceptance as
a legitimate and important subject for
young people.

Sorry for the spacing, but its due to copying from the pdf.
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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
I suspect that abstinence-only education plays a role too.
That would be harder to substantiate. Utah, North Dakota and New Hampshire have abstinence only education and yet the lowest rates of teen pregnancy in the US. Texas, Nevada and Alabama have abstinence only education and some of the highest rates of teen pregnancy. California has some of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country and does not abstinence only education. Vermont has low teen pregnancy rates and no abstinence only program. Overall, the correlation between per capita abstinence only education funding and teen pregnancy is 0.1 which isn't remotely statistically significant.

So if abstinence only education plays a role, it is a very minor role that is swamped out in all the other factors.

Mind you, I'm against abstinence only education. I think sex ed like all other education should be complete and scientifically accurate. But in support of scientific accuracy its my obligation to point out that the evidence does not suggest that abstinence only education either reduces or increases teen pregnancy rates.

I don't think you're using these statistics properly. There are studies that look directly at the effects of abstinence-only programs. They may have come up already in this thread...when I get a chance, I'll look them up. But in any case, you can't just look at the rates by state because there are too many other factors that play into those numbers.

In any case, the entire issue of teen sex and pregnancy does not boil down to how we teach the subject. I think that removing the abstinence-only agenda is a good step, but in the big scheme of things, it's a small one. Education does not do nearly as much to protect teens from engaging in risky behaviors as a loving, stable home life. And even a loving, stable home life doesn't guarantee anything.

I'm not sure how religion plays into it. There are a lot of bold assumptions going around this thread about the role it plays but I have a few problems with it:

1. No one has shown me numbers. (That's the big one.)
2. How are we judging the effectiveness of the moral stance in question? Are we trying to prevent pregnancy, sex, STD's, or something else?

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Hmmm, the Unesco report includes both at least on the page that I referenced but its a bit hard to read. You need to add up the dark and light coloured bars to get the total.
Yes, I noticed this. The first 2/3 of the UNICEF report is only births but data on abortions is include both birth's and abortions. However, the combined birth/abortion rate for Canada in the UNICEF report is 44.4, signifcantly higher than the number you quoted but that data is a decade old now.

quote:
I'm not sure which table you're getting 31.5 from. But as I said, I suspect the discrepancy might be in that in the first section where they cover only Canada they use total pregnancy data from Statscan which directly tracks miscarriages+live births+abortions. However, in the second section where they make the comparison between countries they use only live births+abortions because the other countries lack this data (and in the case of the US, use estimates).
I got the data from Table 1 and Figure 2. It is the sum of the live births and abortions and slightly lower than the total pregnancies (32.1) because of miscarriages. The 26.4 number doesn't show up until the final paragraph and there is no explanation for why it differs from the data presented in the earlier tables which have already separated out the miscarriages. It could be that this number is the birthrate for all women under 20 where as the other data is for women 15-19. That rate would be lower because the denominator will increase faster than the numerator for women under 15, although there is no indication what the lower age limit is for "women under 20" and the report does not clarify this.

Its really just academic at this point since any way you look at the data, Canada has a much lower teen pregnancy rate than the US.

I just noticed that the Guttmacher report does in fact break things down by racial group (non-Hispanic White, black and Hispanic) for all states. As anticipated, the teen pregnancy rates for black and hispanic women are significantly higher but the pregnancy rates for white teenagers are still nearly twice the rate in Canada so racial characteristic are not the only factor contributing to the differences between the US and Canada.

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Mucus
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I noticed that racial breakdown. I tried to extrapolate what the pregnancy rates in the US would be if it had a racial composition like Canada but I was foiled since the Guttmacher report only explicitly separates out white, black, and Hispanic which means I had no real idea what number to use for the substantial Chinese and South Asian populations.

I suspect I could find an Asian American source given more time.

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The Rabbit
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I've been perusing the table Guttmacher has give state by state racial breakdown. There isn't a clear cut answer. Although the states with high percentage of blacks and hispanics tend to have higher teen pregnancy rates, in most cases the teen pregnancy rates in those states are also above the national average for the white non-Hispanic teenagers. So there seem to be regional differences that cut across all racial groups.

The one clear exception to this is the District of Columbia. A racial breakdown of prenancy and abortion statistics aren't available in D.C. Only birth statistics are presented. The birth rate to white teenage mother's in D.C. is 2 while the birthrates to Black and Hispanic mothers are over 80. I suspect this is a socio-economic issue rather than strictly a racial issue since whites who live in D.C. are mostly upper middle class professionals but there is substantial poverty among the black and hispanic population.

It's also interesting that the birthrate to Hispanic teenagers in Florida is half the Hispanic teenage birthrate in the rest of the country. I suspect this reflects cultural and economic differences between the largely Cuban Hispanic population in Florida and Hispanics in other parts of the country.

There are clearly a lot of complex regional, economic and racial things going on.

I do find it very interesting that there is such a big difference in birth and marriage between the US and Canada. I'd always assumed that the US and Canada were much more similar culturally. In my experiences visiting western Canada and associating with Canadian, its been hard to observe any significant difference but these stats are showing that there are in fact much more profound differences than are readily apparent.

Oh and I don't think adding Asians to the mix is going to resolve the issue since areas of the US with high Asian populations (California and Washington) don't look any more like Canada than the rest of the country.

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Mucus
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The Rabbit: I think it would definitely help to explain a portion of the difference between the two countries. Perhaps not a big portion, but its definitely a factor.

California doesn't really mean all that much since as large as the Asian population is there, the Hispanic population swamps it and even in Washington its still larger. Plus in the following paper, the Asian demographics in California have heavy proportions of Filipinos (with a higher teenage pregnancy rate) almost equalling the Chinese population, something that Canada doesn't have.

If we look at a paper addressing Asians such as:
http://bixbycenter.ucsf.edu/publications/files/Monograph_API_TeenPregFinalReport.pdf

We can see that the national API (Asian and Pacific Islanders) pregnancy rate is almost half that of the white population.

Figure 2 is especially interesting since it addresses the subject more directly than the Canadian paper.

Chinese-Americans have the lowest percentage of births to teens at 0.8% compared to 6% for Asians as a whole, 12% for whites, and 16% for Hispanics.

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The Rabbit
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O I agree that differences in ethnic make up are a factor, they just don't seem to be the major factor. Canada is about 11.5% people of Asian ancestry. Even if there were no teenage births among Asian Canadians it wouldn't explain the factor of two difference between teenage pregnancies in Canada and teenage pregnancies among white non-Hispanics in the US.

The abortion ratio is also higher in Canada, but even when you include that you get teen birth/abortion rates that are much much lower in Canada than in the US.

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