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RSS icon Comments on Teen, Overall Birth Rates Up; Abortions Down

1

I blame "Juno".

Posted by tsm | January 17, 2008 4:18 PM
2

I blame the grand juries in the ever-emptying "heartland".

That plus all the anti-science morons.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 17, 2008 4:21 PM
3

That said, it's definitely unfortunate that abortion access may have decreased, but exactly how many counties are supposed to have abortion providers? Most US counties are very sparsely populated, so that 87% may not represent that much of the population.

Posted by tsm | January 17, 2008 4:26 PM
4

Now, how the Hell did that happen?

Posted by NapoleonXIV | January 17, 2008 4:29 PM
5

We live in a Christian conservative nation. How old was Mary when the big guy knocked her up? And, just because they wait to get knocked up until their thirties on Sex in the City doesn't mean the rest of the nation follows suit. And abortion? Do they teach that option in America's schools? Last time I checked, abstaining all together was the birth control in favor.

Posted by Marko Constans | January 17, 2008 4:33 PM
6

I was just looking around today and thinking that the population of half-witted mouth-breathers seems dangerously low. Looks like that won't be the case for long!

Posted by Original Andrew | January 17, 2008 4:45 PM
7

this is porn for some people.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | January 17, 2008 4:47 PM
8

Well, at least we can look forward to those "Every Child Deserves . . " posts from Dan for a long time to come!

Posted by Michigan Matt | January 17, 2008 4:51 PM
9

It's at least as creepy as the French PSAs I found the other day....

Posted by NapoleonXIV | January 17, 2008 4:51 PM
10

lmao, the french are fucking awesome!

Posted by Bellevue Ave | January 17, 2008 4:55 PM
11

Have you read Freakonomics? If Steven Levitt's thesis is sound, we should be seeing a rise in violent crime in about eighteen years, give or take.

Posted by flamingbanjo | January 17, 2008 4:55 PM
12

obviously the drop in abortions and the rise in teenage pregnancies is relatable... but I'll also wonder if there is a correlation to the economy - that is us poor shits don't know better cuz they won't teach us gooder?

Posted by NOS | January 17, 2008 5:00 PM
13

Freakonomics rocks.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | January 17, 2008 5:02 PM
14

@9:
that 1st PSA = "Dream of the Exterminator's Wife"

Posted by David | January 17, 2008 5:11 PM
15

To keep unborn babies from slaughter, it's a good thing that abortions are hard to get. Not that I'm against them per se, but each hoop that a woman has to go through to get one provides one more chance to change her mind and thus not be haunted by 'what could have been' for the rest of her life.

Posted by raindrop | January 17, 2008 5:20 PM
16

OMG, it's Tidus from FFX.

Posted by mattymatt | January 17, 2008 5:21 PM
17

Wow...pregnant boys...this is a fetish I never even knew I had. Thanks United Way!

Posted by Ziggity | January 17, 2008 5:22 PM
18

@3 - when I moved to Seattle, all but I think 3 counties in WA state had providers.

Now I think it's down to maybe 5 counties (sorry, lost count after most were lost).

BC has them everywhere.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 17, 2008 5:56 PM
19

raindrop @ 15:

you say you are not against abortion "per se"; but still throw out terms such as "slaughter", "a good thing that abortions are hard to get" and, "haunted by what could of been".

as well as the idea that "chances to change her mind" are a good thing, as if she has not put much thought and emotional anguish into any decision she makes.

you sound very uninformed, and evidently have pretty strong feelings against a procedure that no one is saying YOU
ever have to have.


Posted by toolbox monitor | January 17, 2008 6:10 PM
20

@15 -

To keep unborn babies from slaughter, it's a good thing that abortions are hard to get. Not that I'm against them per se

LOL. Almost convincing.

Posted by tsm | January 17, 2008 6:23 PM
21

I have only known one person who has had an abortion, and she did so not out of "choice," but because her parents said they wouldn't support her if she had the child. I wonder if the real problem a teen pregnancy poses isn't so much that the girl can't raise the child, but that her family or partner can't or won't support her.

Perhaps I am naive to think that those on opposite sides of the abortion debate will ever understand each other, but nonetheless, we all may agree on this: of all those teens who became pregnant last year, clearly a great many of them were going to have children anyway at some point in their lives. Why is it such an uproarious moral concern that they happen to have gotten pregnant a few years earlier than most people?

After the child is in school, the young mother may finish her own education and continue her career just like anyone else. No one's life has been ruined, and nothing permanent has been lost. It's puzzling that our society is so damn inflexible about the *timing* of reproduction we must resort to extreme measures like abortion.

Several thought experiments along this line have been proposed, but consider one more-- if technology were available which would simply halt in-utero embryonic growth indefinitely, would many women (except perhaps rape victims) choose abortions then? After all, a woman could simply wait until she were ready, then continue the pregnancy.

If you agree abortion becomes much less attractive in this scenario, then you agree that the real issue is essentially one of timing. But if timing is the real issue, then it would appear the right thing to do is support young mothers rather than insist upon abortions.

The political right, in its absolutism with regard to birth control and sex education, has missed a real opportunity to reduce what is claimed to be the great crime of the modern age, abortion. The political left, on the other hand, has been so obsessed by the idea of a woman's right to choose that the idea of providing support to mothers who choose to have children gets little attention.

Perhaps it's not really a debate at all, but simply a war of words.

Posted by JKL | January 17, 2008 6:23 PM
22

GROSS!!!

Posted by Mr. Poe | January 17, 2008 6:43 PM
23

@21 This is an interesting thesis.

However the one part of the equation you didn't ponder long enough, is that you assume a halt of the developing fetus belongs to the same person that girl is with later in life. It is both a combination of timing and the sperm donator that matters.

Often times a young girl gets knocked up by some random boy her age she has a youthful crush on, whilst the boy has an erection that needs relief from that aggravating constant blood flow.

The question to ask, is whether someone in their 30's is glad that they didn't make a child with their high school play partner. How many of us here are glad to have gained all the wisdom and experience afforded us by having an additional decade to grow emotionally, physically, and spiritually? Would we have been able to grow in those same ways if all of a sudden we became Teenage parents burdened by needing to provide for a child when in most cases they are still children themselves?

There are so many factors that go into abortion decision. Implying that it is merely a timing issue is oversimplification at it's finest.

Posted by Reality Check | January 17, 2008 7:42 PM
24

@21 - the "debate" over abortion has little to do with abortion itself. when it comes down to it, nobody is there for you when it happens. nobody gives you support, nobody knows.

the "debate" has nothing to do with you. it's all just talk by a bunch of people who have never been in the position where they have to make that choice for themselves. to them it's just an abstract concept that is easy to objectify and fit into ideological war.

truth is, abortion is a tragedy and it truly does haunt you. and it's nothing to be proud of. and you always wonder "what if". but just because it's one of the worst decisions you'll ever make doesn't mean that the right to make that decision should be taken away.

but yeah. for all the high minded talk and "passion" people on both sides have for it, when you experience it you realize that nobody really cares. not really. it happens every day. where are all these partisans then? nowhere.

Posted by some dude | January 17, 2008 7:48 PM
25

"There are so many factors that go into abortion decision. Implying that it is merely a timing issue is oversimplification at it's finest."

Reality Check is dead-on with this one.

But some dude @24: While I agree with the first half of your post, I have to take issue with the second. Not everyone is "haunted" by abortion. In fact, the younger a woman is when she has one, the less likely she is to carry emotional scars. As with so many things, it's really about how others react to it. People who insist that it's a "tragedy" are not being supportive to these girls. In fact, there are many worse things one can go through in a lifetime -- real tragedies that make an abortion pale in comparison. You don't see too many teenagers coming out of abortion clinics with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Also, I've never met a single woman (or male partner) who was "proud" of having an abortion, but I have met people who weren't ashamed of it. And why should they be? It's nobody's business but their own.

Posted by Irena | January 17, 2008 9:04 PM
26

But don't you realize that having more poor, uneducated workers is a good thing? It means we need fewer dirty Mexicans. I'm sure that Mike Huckabee is shedding a tear of joy as we speak.

Posted by Gitai | January 17, 2008 9:09 PM
27

One more thing (some dude, again). I think all the shame surrounding abortion is the reason why, for many people, "nobody gives you support", and that's precisely because "nobody knows". It's a big secret that the boy and girl have to hide, and then they must suffer in silence. Boys in particular have nowhere to go with their feelings, and yet so many people have gone through this before! It's really sad.

On the other hand, when my aunt was 15, back in the fifties, the place she had just had an abortion in was raided by the authorities. She was hemorrhaging, and she had to be hauled out a window. I'm sure she would have preferred that those "caring people" who raided the place had just left her alone.

Posted by Irena | January 17, 2008 9:22 PM
28

Anyone seen Idiocracy? It's supposed to be a comedy, but all I saw was a post-apocalyptic future more real and terrifying than anything Ridley Scott could ever dream up.

This is why contraception and abortion need to be readily available- the more we overpopulate the planet with people raised in impoverished and uneducated environments with resentful parents, the closer we come to that future.

Posted by UNPAID BLOGGER | January 17, 2008 9:32 PM
29

Too bad so many lives had to be fucked up for the conservatives to learn that ignorance doesn't make people less horny, nor does it reduce the chance of pregnancy or make anyone any safer.

They fought so hard for this Abstinence Only shit. Damn them for being so fucking irrational, pig headed, and stubborn. We fucking god damn told you motherfuckers!

Posted by Brandon h | January 18, 2008 12:43 AM
30

So fucking depressing. Way to keep women down, you damn dirty Republicans.

Posted by Greg | January 18, 2008 5:54 AM
31

i would like the left to step away from the abortion debate in this country. it's not helping us. how about we offer some compromises with the right: we agree to make all abortion (except in rare cases) illegal, they have to agree to shower birth control advisors and products on every high school in the nation, complete with lavish psa's, and free bc for everyone else, too. we call them on their shit, in other words. they refuse to entertain this option, then THEY get to look like the assholes who don't care about people.

Posted by ellarosa | January 18, 2008 9:29 AM
32

@31:

The right isn't helping much either. How about we leave them out too?

Posted by Toby | January 18, 2008 9:43 AM
33

Yes, so perhaps "abortion is only a timing issue" is an overstatement. However, we are talking about teen pregnancy, and being a teen certainly is a timing issue. Now some people say that teens are somehow inherently immature (so really it's about maturity, not chronology per se), but please note that for the overwhelming majority of human history, teens did most of the reproducing. We are all biological and cultural products of teen pregnancy, so let's not be too quick to conclude the modern tendency to have children later in life is actually "bettter." It seems to work for now, but it's really too early to tell for sure.

Now there is also the notion of the mother wanting to abort if there is some reason to believe the biological father won't be around to help raise the child. To put it another way, a young woman might realize (or her parents may realize) the boy who fathered the child really isn't a suitable long-term partner, and abortion would be preferable in order to "save" the young woman's allotment of 2.5 children for a better man.

I have no doubt considerations like this come into play, but I think perhaps it is easy to exaggerate them. I think the bond between mother and child is strong enough that it matters more to a woman that it is *her* child whose fate is called into question than it matters who the father is. I cannot prove it, but I insist that if a young woman were offered all the support she needed in raising the child, she would be much less likely to choose an abortion, even if she didn't think the father would be a long-term partner.

To round out the argument, note the reason people object to supporting teens who are pregnant is simply *that they are teens.* So it seems we rely on abortion because we can't get away from the rule that women should finish school, then start a career, then marry, then have children (or some similar timeline). I think that is a fine life plan, but why insist on it at the expense of the unborn?

Posted by JKL | January 18, 2008 10:30 AM
34

Boys in particular have nowhere to go with their feelings

100% true. everyone thinks of abortion as if it is only about women, but it is equally about men. when you really think about it, the "support" that women get for abortion has nothing to do with the procedure itself. the physical affects of the procedure only last for a few days, but the psychological effects are much more severe. these psychological effects are the same for BOTH parties involved, the man and the woman, but nobody seems to think of it in those terms.

the man ends up sitting in the waiting room or in the parking lot alone with their thoughts.

People who insist that it's a "tragedy" are not being supportive to these girls.

i guess it depends on how you define tragedy. one thing that the right uses is the idea that life is a miracle. they use that to weave the whole thing into their belief system. but the fact is, reproduction is fucking incredible. it's amazing. it's a magical kind of experience. to know that when the two of you are laying in bed at night that there is *something* happening. it's really beautiful, really. you see yourself and your life in a really different way. you start to think about the possibilities and how amazing the world is. that a part of *you* is growing in there, and someday could be a lot like you. have thoughts and feelings. do something in the world. all that.

you realize that the bullshit politics around the issue are utterly meaningless when faced with the sheer beauty of pregnancy and the potential that seems to hold.

but when you're young, when you don't have the resources to support a family, when you know that you can't give that child what they deserve, having an abortion is a legitimate option.

the tragedy is that having a baby is a beautiful thing. but your experience is ill-timed. you will always know that when you do have that experience again, it won't be the same. that's tragic. young women AND men deserve support, and it isn't something to beat yourself up over unnecessarily, but no matter how you slice it it's a sad thing.

but as I said before, a lot of this is just talk, because when you're in the middle of it, you're just alone in the waiting room or the parking lot.

Posted by some dude | January 18, 2008 10:41 AM
35

@34, you're absolutely right. Both reproduction and abortion are intensely personal experiences, very complex and different for everyone. Which is exactly why people deserve the right to make those choices themselves. No one else knows exactly what is at stake, in either case, except for the people going through it.

Which is why I am so disturbed by comments like this:

"So it seems we rely on abortion because we can't get away from the rule that women should finish school, then start a career, then marry, then have children (or some similar timeline). I think that is a fine life plan, but why insist on it at the expense of the unborn?"

@33, that "rule" that women should have the right to an education and a means of self-support (i.e. a career) has been proven to be GOOD for every culture that has adopted it. The simple fact is that an intelligent, reasonably independent woman is more likely to be a good mother than a teenager with no education and no reliable means to support herself.

You seem to be forgetting what the consequences are for a teenage girl who becomes a mother. She is less likely to finish high school, less likely to further her education, less likely to establish a career. Which means she has ahead of her a life of dependence -- on charity (welfare), on family (with all the attendant complications), or on a man (and she can't afford to be choosy here). She is much more likely to be a drain on society than a contributor, which erodes her confidence and taxes her community.

Young women (and the young men who impregnate them) should not have to look forward to a life of poverty and ignorance when we have the medical technology to help them. If they choose to abort, they deserve their community's support -- in the end, their personal sacrifice will benefit the common good.

Posted by Irena | January 18, 2008 12:04 PM
36

"The simple fact is that an intelligent, reasonably independent woman is more likely to be a good mother than a teenager with no education and no reliable means to support herself."

So why not provide education and support to teen mothers?

"You seem to be forgetting what the consequences are for a teenage girl who becomes a mother."

These aren't consequences of being a teen mother, but consequences of society's failure to support teen mothers. There is no reason a young mother can't finish her own education, have her career, etc. after the child is in school.

No one is arguing women shouldn't be able to plan out their lives the way they want. In fact, just the opposite-- if you happen to be a teen mother, why should we as a society shame you into having an abortion rather than offering our support in raising the child?

Posted by JKL | January 18, 2008 12:43 PM
37

@ 34 & 35 Thank you for the eloquent replies. They are well thought out and articulated.

@36 JKL you provide some interesting thoughts, however they have serious gaps in logic. Who is going to provide the education and support? How is that "support" going to be provided? Who pays for that "support"?

Are you and those who believe as you do on this, going to personally fork over the extra $$ to provide this support? Why should we subsidize young girls getting pregnant? Isn't having a child a personal responsibility? Are teens having babies personally responsible for their actions or are they minors whose responsibility then rests on their parental unit? What about when they come from a broken home? Who then?

Why does society "owe" a teenage girl? Who gets to choose if I feel I should owe them anything?

Our society is already over burdened with other social issues that don't have a measure of ability to control them. With abortion we have the ability to offer a choice to a teenager that although they made a bad choice there is a way to recover from that fork in the road and choose a different path.

Where is there the implication that having an abortion involves shame? That "shame" logic is pushed by anti-abortion advocates to further their agenda.

Sounds like you fall into that category too....

Posted by Reality Check | January 18, 2008 12:58 PM
38

@ 34 & 35 Thank you for the eloquent replies. They are well thought out and articulated.

@36 JKL you provide some interesting thoughts, however they have serious gaps in logic. Who is going to provide the education and support? How is that "support" going to be provided? Who pays for that "support"?

Are you and those who believe as you do on this, going to personally fork over the extra $$ to provide this support? Why should we subsidize young girls getting pregnant? Isn't having a child a personal responsibility? Are teens having babies personally responsible for their actions or are they minors whose responsibility then rests on their parental unit? What about when they come from a broken home? Who then?

Why does society "owe" a teenage girl? Who gets to choose if I feel I should owe them anything?

Our society is already over burdened with other social issues that don't have a measure of ability to control them. With abortion we have the ability to offer a choice to a teenager that although they made a bad choice there is a way to recover from that fork in the road and choose a different path.

Where is there the implication that having an abortion involves shame? That "shame" logic is pushed by anti-abortion advocates to further their agenda.

Sounds like you fall into that category too....

Posted by Reality Check | January 18, 2008 12:59 PM
39

OK, so let's discuss the economic side. The total cost of raising a child does not depend on the age of the mother. The only question is whether or not the mother, her partner, and their families happen to have the financial resources at the time the mother becomes pregnant. It sounds like you all agree that if they do not have the money, society should encourage the mother to abort because the child will be a drain on society.

My argument is this isn't fair, either to the mother or her child. The federal government makes available low-interest loans to students who want attend college, and I've never heard anyone claim these loans should be eliminated because students are a drain on society. Clearly, the point is that education is an investment in the future. But so is having a child.

So why do we not offer young mothers even the minimal kind of support we offer college students? I don't know why, but I think it has something to do with the stigma attached to teen pregnancy. This is the "shame" I referred to earlier. In particular, look at the picture which heads this topic-- it seems pretty clear the only point is to convince people that teen pregnancy is "disturbing," which I equate to "shameful."

When a 23 year old woman becomes pregnant, we say "Congratulations!" If she were 5 years younger, we would say "Oh no, a scandal!" This, however, says more about us than it does about the young mother.

Posted by JKL | January 18, 2008 5:22 PM

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