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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Abstain from This Policy

By Keith R. Schmitz

A chart in yesterday's New York Times proves what a dismal failure the right wing's fairy tale abstinence only policy in particular and opposition to birth control in general has been to our country and to the young girls who have to live with the consequences.

Click here to access the piece by Charles Blow and pull up the chart under multimedia on the left.

With some graphic help the chart show lists countries of the world sorted under columns for teen births per 1,000 for 1970 and 1998, teenage abortions per 1,000 and teen sex by percentages.

The US has a high percentage of teens having sex, but there are some with higher.

It's the other columns that point up to the failure of our approach. In all countries births per thousand have fallen since 1970. In the US they have fallen by about 75%.

But look down the list. In almost all countries the rate of teen pregnancy fell by half or more, except in Catholic countries. Granted the numbers are smaller but in Ireland they actually rose.

These numbers tell us a lot. They tell us that as a country we have to thing more pro-actively about birth control and sex education. I know what's going on in many little heads. "We already shove birth control down kindergarteners' throats." We obviously are doing a bad job of it or no job. In the more open Danish society with kids having more sex than here, the teen birth rate is a minescule 8.1 per 1,000. Heck, many of these kids could be married.

These numbers also tell us about yet another failed conservative policy. In this case we have to do more than just tell kids to keep their knees together.

Yet another failed policy that joins the trash pile of others -- the Iraq invasion, deficit spending, tax cuts for the wealthy, mindless tax cutting. On top of that they want us to go to so-called "consumer-based health care," another faux-populist lame-brained idea that has worked no where on a mass scale and is simply another means to transfer wealth upward.

Yet another failed policy that tells us what this election is all about -- taking away the keys of government from conservatives and letting folks from the reality based side drive.

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