The Fark headline for this story reads: “Oh God, Oh God, Oh God”
A new study published in the journal Reproductive Health shows that there is a correlation between a state’s religiosity and the teenage birth rate.
Except Utah. It’s the exception. (Nicely done, Mormons.)
(And “new” study? Haven’t we heard this one before? Next thing you know, we’ll find out fire is hot.)
Anyway, the bigger question is whether there is causation. Does religion play a role in the increase in teen pregnancies? The study doesn’t say for sure.
But that isn’t stopping researchers from connecting the dots:
… study researcher Joseph Strayhorn of Drexel University College of Medicine and University of Pittsburgh offers a speculation of the most probable explanation: “We conjecture that religious communities in the U.S. are more successful in discouraging the use of contraception among their teenagers than they are in discouraging sexual intercourse itself.”
“It is possible that an anti-contraception attitude could be caused by religious cultures and that could exert its effect mainly on the non-religious individuals in the culture,” Strayhorn told LiveScience. But, he added, “We don’t know.”
Here’s a glimpse at the states, sorted by highest teen pregnancy rate:
The rest of the chart can be found here.
I must say I’m highly disappointed that there’s no mention of Saddlebacking in the article.
So why does this happen?
And how will religious folks try to spin this information?
Advertisinglies rebuts one potential response from conservatives:
… I can hear the religious nuts now claiming that this study is skewed because kids in less religious states could be getting pregnant just as much if not MORE than religious states; they’re just running around having abortion parties to dump their irresponsibly begotten babies so they can go out and have more heathenish orgies. Well, no. Thankfully, the study accounted for abortions and while abortions were higher in less religious states, accounting for those did nothing to change the outcome of the study.
(Thanks to Benjamin for the link!)