Thursday, September 17, 2009

'Mom, God told me to get knocked up'

Frankly, I don't think my wife would have accepted that excuse from our daughter who -- having turned 20 in May -- is no longer at risk of becoming a sociological statistic:
U.S. states whose residents have more conservative religious beliefs on average tend to have higher rates of teenagers giving birth, a new study suggests.
The relationship could be due to the fact that communities with such religious beliefs (a literal interpretation of the Bible, for instance) may frown upon contraception, researchers say. If that same culture isn't successfully discouraging teen sex, the pregnancy and birth rates rise.
Mississippi topped the list for conservative religious beliefs and teen birth rates, according to the study results, which will be detailed in a forthcoming issue of the journal Reproductive Health. . . .
The objective of this study? To convince college-educated middle-class people that religious faith is the No. 1 force for evil in the modern world. "OMG! If we let our daughter go to church, kiss Vassar good-bye!"

Consider this tragic example: Margaret started having sex when she was 12 and got pregnant when she was 13, in a community so violent that the 26-year-old baby-daddy got into a fight and died shortly thereafter, leaving the teenage girl, seven months pregnant, in the care of her mother, who was a devout Catholic and didn't believe in abortion.

Another teenage motherhood tragedy, and you know the statistics about the children of teenage mothers. So you can predict what happened to that fatherless baby.

Margaret named him Henry and on Aug. 22, 1485 -- yes, I said 1485 -- Henry's army defeated the forces led by the usurper Richard III in a place called Bosworth Field, ending the War of the Roses.

Henry Tudor's mother Margaret Beaufort was only 12 when she married the nobleman Edmund Tudor, who died after fighting rebels in his Welsh homeland. Margaret's orphaned son became King Henry VII of England. And Margaret? Well, some have called her the most brilliant woman of the 15th century:
Educationalist, scholar and philanthropist, Margaret Beaufort was the richest woman in English Medieval history and used her wealth to promote education and religion. . . . After the Tudor victory in 1485, Margaret . . . set about supporting and financing a variety of educational, charitable and religious projects. The sponsor of Caxton and early printing, she herself translated and published the Imitation of Christ (Thomas a Kempis), while through her confessor, St. John Fisher, she was drawn into the world of Cambridge University. Margaret was the principal patron for the rebuilding of the University Church (Great St. Mary’s) and in 1505, she re-founded Godshouse as Christ’s College, fulfilling the promise of her brother-in-law Henry VI. Margaret Beaufort encouraged her son to promote the successful completion of King’s College Chapel and went on to establish the foundation of St. John’s College, completed after her death in 1509.
And now you know . . . the rest of the story!

(Hat tip: Hot Air Headlines.)


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. "...higher rates of teenagers giving birth..."

    It doesn't say higher pregnancy rates, just more births.

  3. I am skeptical of these statistics. Of course live births would be higher in states and areas more inclined to frown on abortion as an birth control option when a teen becomes pregnant. Note the study did not say that pregancy rates are higher in such states, only live births.

    And I am all for telling kids not to engage in sex and telling them about condoms too. But I am not for schools promoting sex for teens.

  4. This may also be due to the fact that conservatives tend to marry younger - that marrying your "high school sweetheart" is actually idealized.

    Key graf from the article:

    "Earlier marriage among religious individuals could also partly explain the finding.

    "In the south, there is a higher rate of marriage of teenagers. And one possible explanation is just that in the southern states, which are also more religious, people just get married earlier and have planned pregnancies and those have perfectly good outcomes," Strayhorn said. He added that he doesn't think the earlier marriage idea explains the religion-birth link. "

    Just another reason why "teen birth" statistics are yet another completely BS measure. Without the corresponding rates of marriage, then there's no way to tell if these "teen births" are a matter of social concern or a celebration of family procreation.

    That this article appeared on MSNBC and noticeably neglects this all-important statistic tells you all you need to know about what kind of garbage this noise is.

  5. My problem with the study is the fact they are only counting teenagers giving births. They say they are accounting for the "abortion" issue amongst these states, but they also indicate abortion is undercounted in some areas. So really, all they are saying is the areas, where religion is of a more conservative bent, is where the live births are higher. Which just means that the areas, where religion is not of a conservative stance, the teenagers are not carrying the pregnancy to full term.

    Frankly, I'll take the conservative religious states where I feel the babies are being given a chance of life over the other any day. My state ranked 22nd in birth rates and 17th in religion. I applaud Mississippi for being 1st all around. I guess that means more babies make it to delivery. What worries me is that DC and Wyoming have no religion? DC I can believe, but Wyoming? LOL!

  6. Wyoming has no religion, other than the death cult for Dark Lord Cheney.

    The Dark Lord craves flesh.

  7. Stacy: I always knew conservatives wanted to return to the Middle Ages. Thanks for confirming.

  8. Social science of this kind that does not control for racial demographics is useless to the point of fraudulence. Look at the top of the list: heavily black and latino states in the South and Southwest. Look at the bottom of the list: lily-white states up North. Now look at this page for a breakdown of teen pregnancy and birth rates by race and Hispanic origin. And the critical phrase "controlling for race" appears nowhere in the article.

    The study author looks at this list and claims that some convoluted argument about "discouraging the use of contraception" is the most probable explanation for the ordering? There's no way he's that dense. Someone --- either the study authors or the MSNBC reporter --- is quite deliberately slandering religious Americans here. Of course it might be true that minority populations are simultaneously more religious and experience more teen pregnancy. It may even be that the religiosity of minority populations is a causal factor in minority teen pregnancy rates. But that piece does nothing to establish this.

    As reported here, the researchers have "discovered" that a lot of black people live in Mississippi. If only all science were this easy.

  9. Great, being wealthy and a noble matters.

  10. They shouldn't confuse correlation with causation.

  11. I see they buried the abortion part of the study deep in the article.

    Could it be that abortion has more to with the reason why religious kids have their babies and more secular kids choose to terminate the child?

  12. Sorry to rain on your parade, but Richard III was not a "usurper", but rather the rightful heir after his brother's children were found to be illegitimate. Henry, like Lenin, got lucky and spent his time creating a highly centralized tyrannical government -- no Plantagenet king would have tolerated the Court of Star Chamber for a minute.

  13. The relationship could be due to the fact that communities with such religious beliefs (a literal interpretation of the Bible, for instance) may frown upon contraception, researchers say. If that same culture isn't successfully discouraging teen sex, the pregnancy and birth rates rise.

    As opposed to communities successfully encouraging abortion, where the pregnancy rate may be equal to other communities but where the birth rate plummets.

    Without comparison data regarding comparative pregnancy rates the study is worthless at best, propaganda at the least.

  14. a little off topic, but from the nurse's perspective, it is interesting to see how the parents react and act while their daughter is in treatment. It's as if they don't believe she had premarital sex.

    Sorry, just an interesting side note.

  15. Yeah -- how many of these are births to MARRIED teenagers?

    My cousin's daughter married the week she graduated from high school, and was a mother before her 19th birthday. eleven moths later. She'd be a statistic under this study -- but she was not pregnant when she married.

  16. I don't care what the marital status of the parents is, or if the wedding is a shotgun wedding or not. Teens giving birth is a bad social indicator: an indicator of low education, low work qualifications, poor lifetime earnings, poor childcare, ...

    The kids should be going to college, or learning a trade, or getting work experience and saving some money. Only a religious nutjob would think otherwise (and there are plenty of those around).

  17. Typical right winger family values. Get knocked up early and often, attaribute it to the imaginary friend in the sky.

  18. I just want to check out my impression before jumping to conclusions: Was it your intention to suggest that becoming pregnant and giving birth at the age of 12 is a positive outcome for a girl in 2009 because Margaret Tudor became pregnant at 12 in 1485?

    Setting aside one's feelings about religion, contraception, or abortion, it still doesn't seem like a desirable thing to me.

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