The CDC has released its newest compiled data regarding teenage pregnancy. And, to plug my tiny little state, I'll proudly boast that NH has the lowest rates of teenagers becoming mothers, with our stats at only 19 teen moms per 1,000 teenagers.
But, no one cares about who is doing well in this regard. The focus is now on who has the highest rates. And, why, unsurprisingly, it is the southern United States.
I'm guessing you're expecting me to blame this on abstinence-only education. And while I would love to, and I think abstinence-only education is a horrible policy, I don't think it is the main cause of this trend. My guess, instead, is that this is due to the pervasive poverty in the South. Generation after generation where options are few and a sense of hopelessness regarding the future is commonplace, there are no reasons to delay pregnancy.
Education regarding sex and contraceptives is lacking, certainly, but, what would make an even bigger difference is education, period. Further education, more options, and more hope. I think that is the cure to teenage pregnancy.* But, this would mean investing more money - more government money - into education programs at all levels. And, it would not be an immediate pay-off. And, hell, it might not work at all...but, we'd be increasing the access to education for those who have fewer options and smaller incomes, and, that's never a bad thing, right?
*Well, and, perhaps, an elimination of teen dating violence and the scary norm of sexual assaults of teenage girls. But, for now, we'll assume that most of the sex teenagers are having is 'consensual' (although, that is up for debate).