We often do things that totally defy common sense, and when it comes to sex we’re often outright stupid. Where does this stupidity come from? The sources are many: our discomfort with the subject of sex, our failure to talk openly with our children, and pediatricians failing to do their jobs. Those are the obvious ones, but underneath the surface lies a callous disregard on the part of politicians and public policy leaders for the chaos and their discrimination against women, the poor, and minorities causes.
Take a look at these facts assembled by Nicholas Kristof in a recent New York Times Op-Ed piece entitled Politicians, Teens and Birth Control.
- The inflation-adjusted sum spent on Title X family planning in the United States has fallen by two-thirds since 1980.
- American teenagers become pregnant at a rate of about one a minute.
- Some 82 percent of births to teenagers in the U.S. are unplanned.
- American and European teenagers seem to be sexually active at roughly similar rates, although Americans may start a bit earlier. But the American teenage birthrate is three times Spain’s rate, five times France’s, and 15 times Switzerland’s.
- Young Americans show a lack of understanding of where babies come from. Among teenagers who unintentionally became pregnant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the most cited reason for not using contraception was “I didn’t think I could become pregnant.”
- 18 percent of young men somehow believed that having sex standing up helps prevent pregnancy, according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
- Medicaid spends an average of $12,770 for a birth, yet we spend only $8 per teenage girl on programs to avoid pregnancy.