New government data on the birth rate also show another disturbing trend. For two years in a row, the teen pregnancy rate rose, reversing what had been a steady 14-year decline in teen births. From 2006 to 2007, the birthrate among 15-to-19-year-olds jumped 1.4 percent and from 2005 to 2006, the rate jumped 3.4 percent.
Single motherhood is becoming so prevalent, it's easily argued that it has become the societal norm. But the data also consistently show children fare better in homes with two married parents--that's true for children when they are in school and later on in life.
Experts will argue who is more to blame--Hollywood, the religious right (for abstinence-only education), or none of the above. My bet is, whatever the reason, abstinence-only education was a throw-back, not a move forward, and it's got to go. Should abstinence be part of any public school sex education course? Of course! Guess what? It always has been. But the absolute gall of people to impose "abstinence-only" on federal funding for sex education is as infuriating as teaching so-called intelligent design in a science class, and leaving out evolution.
President Obama is expected to soon announce whether or not he will continue funding for abstinence-only education. My guess is on this hot-button issue he'll take the middle ground and cut federal funding for abstinence-only sex education classes (a misnomer if there ever were one, since abstinence-only gives children no understanding of human biology) but not eliminate it.
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By Bonnie Erbe