Utah's Latina teens have an alarmingly high birth rate: They are nearly four times more likely than other 15- to 17-year-olds to have a baby.I've written about this seldom-acknowledged consequence of our immigration problem, but our political system can't address it, because any politician who opens his mouth about the demographics of teen pregnancy is immediately targeted as a racist xenophobic nativist bigot.
The Utah Department of Health is releasing the report on Latino health disparities today as part of a series exploring the challenges facing Utah minorities.
It shows that while nearly 18 of every 1,000 girls ages 15 to 17 in the general Utah population had a baby in 2006-07, 66 of 1,000 Latinas had one.
The implications go beyond those teens' immediate futures. National data show Latina teen moms are more likely to drop out of high school than other teen mothers, and teen mothers are more likely to be on welfare. Children of teen mothers are more likely to live in poverty and have educational and social problems and are more likely to become teen parents themselves.
"Teen pregnancy," per se, is not the problem. As Maggie Gallagher has pointed out, the real problem is unwed pregnancy. Yet as a society, we spend millions to discourage "teen pregnancy," even while celebrating single motherhood (a subject that Ann Coulter addresses in her new book).
There is a cultural factor involved that nobody wants to talk about, even when you have 14-year-old brides being bartered for beer in California. And the fact that this story about Latina teen pregnancy rates is coming out of Utah highlights the unaddressed double standard. On the one hand, when the polygamous FLDS cult relocated to Texas, the Texas legislature actually raised their state's age of consent from 14 to 16, in order to outlaw the cult's known practice of marrying off young teenage girls. And yet Texas led the nation in teen pregnancy in 2004 -- and it wasn't because of fundamentalist Mormons, OK? Like I said, if Texas is going to stage a paramilitary raid every time a 15-year-old gets pregnant, they're going to need to hire a lot more SWAT officers.
Given the seriousness of our nation's demographic crisis, one could argue -- and I actually have argued -- that we probably need more teen pregnancy, and if it weren't for Hispanic immigrants, the U.S. birth rate would still be below replacement level. Yet while liberals demand that we spend millions of taxpayer dollars on teen-pregnancy prevention, they simultaneously demand that we have open borders, so as to import more teen pregnacy. And if anybody tries to talk about this in a realistic way, they're denounced by liberals as "hatemongers."
Given these contradictory messages from liberals -- unlimited immigration, good; teen pregnancy, bad; honest policy discussion, hate -- one must question either their sanity, their intelligence or their bona fides.