Pro-Life, Pro-Abortion Advocates Have Different Takes on Teen Birth Increase

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 8, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life, Pro-Abortion Advocates Have Different Takes on Teen Birth Increase

by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 8
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — Advocates on both sides of the abortion debate have different takes on the latest news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New CDC statistics show a slight increase in teen births and the figures are making headlines across the country.

For the pro-life side, a rise in teen births leads to the obvious conclusion that fewer teenagers are having abortions when confronted with a teen pregnancy.

But for pro-abortion syndicated columnist Bonnie Erbe, that’s not good news.

She complains in a new column that the state of Mississippi saw the highest increase in the teen birthrate only because pro-life advocates have enacted more abortion limits than any other states and closed down abortion businesses.

"Hats off to the religious right once again, this time for Mississippi’s latest honor—that of being the state with the highest teen birthrate in the nation," she writes. Erbe complained that "religious abortion foes (and most abortion foes are religiously driven) have helped drive up the teen birthrate."

"I attribute this honor, in great part, to antiabortion activists in the state who succeeded in shutting down six of the state’s seven" abortion centers, Erbe adds.

Erbe said she was disappointed that only one abortion center remains in Mississippi.

On the other hand, Janice Shaw Crouse, the head of Concerned Women for America, says the real culprit in rising teen birth rates is the pushing of teen sex in the mainstream media.

"When the data showed a decline in teen pregnancies, teen abortions, and teen sexual activity, the mainstream media barely noticed," she said. "Almost nobody heralded that landmark accomplishment which coincided with more widespread abstinence programs in schools and community programs."

"Is the rising popularity of teen pregnancy any wonder? The media is trumpeting the notion that out-of-wedlock births are all the rage these days," she said. "The stories and images targeted to impressionable teens that are being broadcast through various mass media are shaped in ways that glorify the idea and simplify the issues surrounding the pregnancy of a young teenaged girl."

Crouse explained that the increase was primarily in the 18- to 19- year-old group.

To her, that means the pressure to have sex in college — where most teens are in environments dominated by sex, drugs and alcohol — is significantly high.

"It brings me no satisfaction to make that point; these 18- to 19-year-old young women are still teens, and their well-being is just as threatened by pregnancy and STDs from promiscuous, too-early sexual activity as it is with the younger teens," she said.

Though Crouse is happy that abortions are on the decline, she hopes teen birthrates will decline, too.

"The reality is that unmarried teen pregnancy is a sad event," Crouse concludes. "Sarah Palin poignantly wrote of her daughter’s situation: Pregnancy makes a teen grow up too fast; the road ahead for a pregnant teen is a very difficult and hard path."

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