The South Rises Again – In Pregnancies

I have nothing against Southerners.

I want to say that up front because I’ve traveled around the southern part of America a few times and found myself admiring the beautiful lands, the great food, and the good people of the South. As a Northerner I always have this fear of being discovered for my dislike of grits at the breakfast table. But truthfully my fears are irrational, at best, when relating to the good people of the south.

However, when it comes to issues such as sexuality, birth control, and teen pregnancy you have to scratch your head how far behind this region of the United States is so far behind the rest of the world by one century.

I say this because the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in a recent report, finds the South is far ahead of the rest of the country in the amount of teen pregnancies.

What The CDC Finds In The South

  • Nevada, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky lead the nations as the top 10 states showing increase in teenage birth rates.
  • Mississippi leads the nation with 65.7% ; most of the teen birth rate increase are found with non-Latino blacks making up 89.5%.
  • Non-Latino white teens in the South have the highest birth rates in the country in these states: Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and West Virginia.

The one pattern that holds in this study shows those regions of the country that teach abstinence only sex education are found in (you guessed it) the South.

The states which show offer comprehensive sex education–both safe sex and abstinence education (Calif., Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts) have the lowest teen birth rates in the country.

Now it would seem to some I’m picking on the South; I got this agenda to make the South look stupid and backwards. On the contrary, I’m trying to make aware to my fellow Americans there is a huge crisis with our teens that needs to be addressed. Teen pregnancies run the risk of higher complications involving low weight and dying during infancy.

It pains me to drive through states like Kentucky or West Virginia where you can see billboards decrying abortion, but not one billboard showing the need to use a condom or stress to young women the risk you take when they choose to be sexually active. It pains me how you can’t buy a dildo in Alabama, but you get a “just say no” to sex sermon in youth groups across the state giving teens a false sense of what to do when faced with a chance of sexual activity. It pains me how a region (not the only region, but one of the leading regions in the United States) who will decry gay marriage, but the divorce rates in the South are some of the highest in the country.

Faith Vs. Safe Sex Education

As a person of faith, I know how important many Southerners take their faith in their life. But I think the churches and believers in the region who hold to the “no sex till you’re married” mantra must take a serious hard look at the facts and realize our traditions are not helping the situation by teaching abstinence only, but perpetuating the situation further by giving teens a battle axe with only one side to use (and the one side is rubber).

Some of the nations mega churches, ministries, and denominational homes (i.e. Southern Baptist) will make full scale warfare on anything that even shows a bare leg on television or in public. But these same men and women find themselves in compromising positions throwing to the fire their own teachings to their own.

Isn’t it time we faced facts that our traditional stance towards sexuality is a hopeless battle of wits where Southern Christian leaders look like halfwits in the room; that their belief system regarding sex and love are, at worst, a failed attempt to control the masses? I sometimes think the real agenda for some who decry sex education is they want to see their women barefoot, pregnant, with little chance at any background in education. Keep the women in the kitchen and keep them busy with a ton of kids. That a way you know you don’t have to have someone smarter than our men folk.

Ridiculous.

How The South Can Rise Again

If the South is going to rise again it will have to take some bold steps, as a region, to rid itself of their darkened past:

  • Drop the Confederate flag! That’s so Jefferson Davis.
  • Join the rest of the world to embrace fact, logic, and clarity on all issues.
  • Admit the South has a sex problem and find a better, logical way to deal with it.

Right now the way Southern religious/non-religious leaders are handling sex education (not to mention the sexual well being of Southerners as a whole) shames the people and the rich history of the south.


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