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To review: Marcotte sees the high birth rates of Red States as indicators that abstinence-only education policies don’t work. Douthat pointed out that abortion limits the number of pregnancies that turn into births and that Marcotte’s analysis is incomplete without mentioning abortion. She responded by shifting the goal post and ended up jumbling teen pregnancy, socioeconomic status, and race.
Chris Kirk does the same. He provides a map showing teen birth rates and fails to mention the impact abortion has on the teen birth rate. He writes:
It’s easy to understand why New York City schools are handing out morning-after pills to teenage girls. Although teenage pregnancy and birth rates are declining nationally, teenage girls still give birth to hundreds of thousands of babies a year. To be precise, they gave birth to 367,678 in 2010 alone, according to the CDC. This map shows the birth rate among girls aged 15 to 19 by state. And it clearly shows that more conservative states have higher rates of teenage births.
In states such as Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma, 1 out of 20 teenage girls gives birth every year. Using the most recent Census data on teenage populations, Arkansas has the highest rate, at 56 births per 1,000 teenage girls.
It’s no surprise that red states have higher rates. Many of them, including the seven states with the highest rates, do not require schools to teach contraception. Some states do not require sex education at all. Other states that do have sex education require teachers to stress abstinence and advise children to wait until marriage. Studies have concluded time and time again that abstinence-only curricula are not as effective at reducing teen pregnancies and births. (emphasis mine)
To throw a more nuanced argument into this, here is a piece about the decreased effectiveness of sex-ed in Red States. The author, affiliated with LiveScience, at least mentions a difference between birth rates and pregnancy rates and posits that perhaps pregnancy rates are similar across all states. This would indicate lesser effectiveness of sex-ed curriculum.
But to Kirk – So the high pregnancy rates in Red States have little to do with abortifacients but the city of New York has decided to use them anyway, and, boy, just watch those birth rates decline. But of course it wasn’t the dispersal of abortifaciants; it was the curriculum. Looking at Kirk’s map we notice that some of the states with a strong sex ed curriculum still have higher teen birth rates than many other states that have mandates for sex ed. North Carolina, South Carolina, and especially Alabama’s teen pregnancy problems haven’t been solved by this particular elixir.