"We currently know very little about how to effectively discourage unmarried teenagers from initiating intercourse."
Report of the National Research Council


On Teen Pregnancy


by Diane Dew

Sperm and Egg
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A condensed version of this article was printed in the commentary section of The New York Times, Washington Times & others, 1987. Copyright 1987, Diane S. Dew.

In an attempt to curb the rising tide of teen pregnancies in our nation, the National Academy of Science appointed a panel of physicians, social scientists, demographers and public health "experts" to determine the cause and derive a solution to this situation. After two years of research, the National Research Council released a 337-page report revealing their empty conclusion: "We currently know very little about how to effectively discourage unmarried teenagers from initiating intercourse." Then, based on their inability to arrive at a suitable solution, the recommendation was made to provide teens with low-cost contraceptives.

One of the basic factors of maturing into adulthood is learning responsibility by facing the consequences for the choices we make. (If Mom says No, and I do it anyway, I will eat two dozen cookies, I will be sick.) Wisdom and responsibility cannot be imparted; they are learned through experience. Relieving youths of responsibility for their actions -- though our intentions may be good -- can only do them harm, for it places them in a position of particular vulnerability to temptation with an inability to exercise self-control over their desires.

Mixed Messages
    Headlines across our nation have addressed the situation as "the problem of teen pregnancy." This is very misleading, as the problem is not pregnancy, but promiscuity. Teen pregnancies are the result of a far more serious problem: immorality among our youth.

     In some communities, school clinics have been authorized to dispense contraceptives to teens in the hope that the birth rate among this age group would drop. In St. Paul, Minn., however, where the idea of such school clinics first began, although the birth rate among teens participating in the program decreased, the abortion rate tripled!  It doesn't take much of an "expert" to see that eliminating the consequences only encourages teens' sexual activity.

Missing:  Morality
     One study funded by Planned Parenthood goes into great detail in its statistical description of the teen pregnancy situation in the U.S.:  "57 percent of teens have sex at 17 ... 47 percent think abortion should be available ...12 percent say clinics for contraceptives should be located in schools..."

     In making their computations public, however, Planned Parenthood -- the recipient of over $120 million tax dollars annually -- has repeatedly (and very conveniently) failed to make note of one very significant fact: 100 percent of unwed teens engaged in premarital sex before getting pregnant. It is a statistic that won't have to be updated with time.

     Some years ago, Planned Parenthood placed a full-page ad in the New York Times listing eight reasons "Why a Million Teens Will Get Pregnant This Year."  Not one mention was made of immorality as a cause of the problem. The government was blamed; parents were blamed (lack of communication); schools were blamed (inadequate sex education); poor planning was blamed (failure to use contraceptives); psychological problems were blamed (poor self-esteem, peer pressure); even television was blamed. But no reference was made to promiscuous behavior as the cause. This is disinformation and deception at its worst.

Playing With Fire
     Teens must be taught that experimenting with sex is like playing with fire: Someone's going to get hurt--emotionally and psychologically, spiritually, and, with the threat of VD and AIDS, possibly even physically.

     The New Testament describes sexual desire as a buring fire. In its proper place, fire is good. But left to itself, unrestrained, it becomes a dangerous, destructive force. Like a fire raging out of control, an unrepressed sexual drive is a significant contributing factor to many of the problems plaguing our society--rape, incest, family break-ups, murder, VD, AIDS, etc. To supply teens with an easy exit ("just in case") is to spell failure from the start. Teens need to feel their parents have a sense of confidence in their integrity. If they feel they are expected to engage in sex before marriage, they probably will.

     There is a solution to the teen pregnancy situation, but it will not be found in more federal funding ... or through Planned Parenthood's attempts to conceal the cause. God has revealed the answer to us from the beginning: self control (Gal 5:22, 23), and chastity -- refraining from pre-marital sex, which is clearly forbidden by God. (1 Corin 6:15-18) Yes, the Bible provides us with both the cause of the problem and the solution for it. As they say, When all else fails, read the directions.

     The solution which the 15-member panel of the NRC could not uncover -- not in two years and 337 pages -- takes only two seconds and three words to relate: "Thou shalt not." Or, in the words of St. Paul: "Flee youthful lusts." (2 Tim. 2:22)

A condensed version of this article was printed in the commentary section of The New York Times, Washington Times & others, 1987. Copyright 1987, Diane S. Dew

This article was selected for this award by Study Web (a USA Today "Hot Site," '97 Education World Award recipient, and semifinalist in the GII Award competition) 10/4/99

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