Texas Teen Pregnancy Rate Remains Higher Than National Average

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Telling teens that sex makes them as worthless as a piece of chewed-up gum or a used toothbrush may not be the most effective form of birth control after all.

The Texas Tribune reported on Texas' disappointing teen pregnancy rate and how it stacks up against the nation this week.

Between 1991 and 2012, the national teen birth rate dropped by more than 50 percent. Unsurprisingly, Texas has not kept up with the trend.

Read more about Texas' teenage birth rate after the jump.While the national teenage birth rate has declined by 52 percent, Texas' declined by 43 percent from 1991 to 2012.

Currently, Texas ranks fifth for teenagers giving birth and first for repeat births among teenagers.

In the article, several experts point to the state's inadequate abstinence-only sex education, including Professor David Wiley who teaches in the Department of Health and Human Performance at Texas State.

“It's this mentality that we're Texas, we do it our way, we ignore science and kind of go with our gut. That Wild West mentality about public policy is not helpful,” Dr. Wiley told the Tribune.

The article also quotes several Texas women who gave birth as teenagers, including Charmaine Carbs and Keshawn Johnson. Both said that they did not receive enough education or support regarding sex or pregnancy.

Carly Caraway was also a teenage mother and now serves as program director for Alley's House, a nonprofit providing support for teenage mothers.

Caraway encourages more open conversations about sex, stating, “A lot of people in Texas think that if you teach students about sex, they're going to have more sex. People need to talk about sex and healthy relationships.”

Current GOP leadership disagrees. As Rick Perry said in 2011, “I'm just gonna tell ya, from my own personal life, abstinence works.

“If the point is, we're gonna go stand up here and say, 'Listen, y'all go have sex and go have the whatever is going on, and we'll worry with that, and here is the ways to have safe sex, then I'm sorry, call me old fashioned if you want,” Perry added.

Natalie tweets from @nsanluis.


About Author

Natalie San Luis

Natalie is a native Texan, a feminist, and a writer, focusing on reproductive justice, race, and pop culture. When she's not writing (and sometimes when she is), she's brewing beer, drinking beer, and reading stuff on the Internet. Her work has been featured on The Huffington Post, xoJane, The Billfold, Culturemap, and E3W Review of Books. She tweets from @nsanluis.

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