Personally as a pediatrician, I found the highest teen birth rates in three groups. 1. Teens in distressed families (drug addict or absent parents [not single moms], poverty where parents are working 2-3 jobs, overextended and therefore technically absent and rich parents with unsupervised kids); 2. Teens in very religious families relying on abstinence, that wouldn’t talk about sex, leaving kids to figure it out on their own (these kids constantly were super rebellious); and 3. idol teens who had no hobbies except hanging out with friends and who had self-esteem problems such that they would do anything to appear popular.
The saddest case that is a commentary on how we talk but don’t help distressed teens and families was an eighth grade girl who told me she purposely got pregnant because she wanted someone to “love her.” She had lived mainly on the streets taking care of herself in South Carolina (the bible belt) where social services were inadequate to help her. Her parents were unavailable. The churches, schools, and social services viewed her as important and worthwhile as a dead dog. What do you expect! Three girls in her class were pregnant that year.
Until we promote individual worth; provide adequate eduation so that kids are motivated to learn and therefore kept busy with self motivation(our high school education is like a junior high education in most civilized countries – teachers are in general miserably undertrained); teach kids the value of being involved with others and with activities such as the arts, volunteering, involvement with government and social services, gardening, sports without a goal of being a major leager; teach that community and family is more important than self and instant gratification or material goods; promote a village atmosphere where people in one small neighborhood or a few blocks in a city know each other, meet regularly with each other (difficult with two jobs and long commutes) and help each other (70 % of Americans don’t know their neighbors); make real job training and jobs available to young men and women; reform laws so that like in Europe women can stay home with a child the first two years of life and still have a job available and career available when they return to work, we will make no progress in regards to teen births or abortions.
We need to shift our priorities and donations to the REAL problems that result in teen pregnancies and abortions. If we simply fight about ideology nothing will be accomplished. United We Stand, Divided We Fall. Perhaps it is time to agree to disagree on ideology and work together on issues that we all agree upon!
The benefits would be enormous. We would not just deal with teen pregnancies and reduce abortions, we would reduce crime and increase our countries productivity saving huge amounts of money and rebuilding our economy.