by Max Brantley
NY Times blog rounds up reporting on a decline in the teen pregnancy rate and observations that the rate, by state, tends to track sex education and family planning practices.
For example, states that report the highest use of birth control pills and other contraception devices tended to have lower rates of births to teens. Conversely:
Of the five states with the highest rates of pregnancy among teenagers, three (Texas, Oklahoma and Mississippi) restrict the ability of a minor to access contraceptive health care, and four (those three, plus Arkansas) stress abstinence in their sexual education programs. Conclusive? Far from it. But these numbers should give policy-makers in states with high teenage pregnancy rates something more to think about.
The rising Republican caucus at the state legislature is agitating for still more bars to distribution of birth control pills and other contraception, as with an attorney general opinion request targeting federal rules to provide contraception.