Thursday, September 17, 2009

Teen Pregnancy Correlates with Religiosity at the State Level

Here is a little study that took existing data and showed what you probably already knew -- states with the highest proportion of religious conservatives also have the highest teen pregnancy rates. Check this out:
Teen birth rate is very highly correlated with religiosity at the state level (P<0.0005), with more religious states having a higher rate of teen birth.

That's the conclusion drawn by Joseph M. Strayhorn, MD, a child and adolescent psychiatrist with faculty appointments at Drexel University College of Medicine and the University of Pittsburgh, in an analysis published in the open access journal Reproductive Health.

Strayhorn and co-author Jillian Strayhorn came to that conclusion by correlating Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life in 2008 data with teen birth rate data from the CDC and income data from the U.S. Bureau of Census.

Not surprisingly, states with a higher religious index score had a lower abortion rate, so religiosity was predictive of both more teen births and fewer abortions (P=0.002), Strayhorn found.

The "correlation between religiosity and teen birth rate remained highly significant (P<0.0005) when income was controlled for," he wrote.

Strayhorn speculated that a "possible explanation for this relationship is that teens in more religious communities may be less likely to use contraception." Religious Beliefs No Barrier to Teen Pregnancy

That is a good guess. Teens in those communities are less likely to have comprehensive sex education, they are less likely to know how to prevent pregnancy, and they are no more likely to practice abstinence.

Ah, here is a wise statement:
Adding that it was possible that "conservative religious communities in the U.S. are more successful in discouraging use of contraception among their teen community members than in discouraging sexual intercourse itself."

Great. Just great.

Here is a careful statement. Since the analysis uses data aggregated at the state level, it is possible that it's the less religious girls getting pregnant, but in an environment that is influenced by religous conservatism.
He also cautioned against using the results to conclude that religious teens get pregnant more often.

"The associations we report could still be obtained if, hypothetically, religiosity in communities had an effect of discouraging contraceptive use in the whole community, including the nonreligious teens there, and only nonreligious teens became pregnant."

The "religious index" used in this analysis was based on responses collected by a Pew phone survey in 2007. The survey included 35,957 participants who were asked to respond to eight statements concerning religious beliefs.

On a state-by-state basis, the authors calculated the percentage of survey participants who endorsed these statements:
  • Belief in God or a universal spirit: Absolutely certain.
  • There is only one way to interpret the teachings of my religion.
  • Scripture should be taken literally, word for word.
  • Religion is very important in my life.
  • Attend church at least once a week.
  • Pray at least once a day.
  • Receive an answer to specific prayer request at least once a month.

Finally, Stayhorn wrote that the findings "by themselves, of course, do not permit causal inferences."

That last statement is an acknowledgement of the statistical fact that "correlation does not imply causality." Of course in a time-lagged design you could use a different analytic approach, for instance in this case it is not likely that teen pregnancy causes religious conservatism, because, say, Mississippi (which rated highest in both religiosity and teen pregnancy) was a conservative Christian place before today's teenagers were born. So in reality, you can infer causality in this situation, though it would be better to use a regression analysis than linear correlation.

Young people should be taught about sex, how it works, what the consequences are, what choices can be made to reduce the negative consequences. But in some parts of the country (not necessarily geographical, perhaps demographic cross-sections) teen pregnancy is not seen as a negative outcome, but rather as God's blessing. The result is babies born to mothers who can't take care of them, the perpetuation of poverty and poor health, despair, and a major obstacle for the teen mother who dreamed of a career or even a marriage. I don't see a way to reason with people who believe that way, for them life is a bleak sequence of events that they have no control over. A major part of comprehensive sexual education is to empower women to take control of their own reproductive organs, and this is perceived as a big threat by some.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Here is a little study that took existing data and showed what you probably already knew -- states with the highest proportion of religious conservatives also have the highest teen pregnancy rates."

The study examined birth rates not pregnancy rates.

This post is evil.

There is no right to kill children whose mothers can't take car of them.

"possible explanation for this relationship is that teens in more religious communities may be less likely to use contraception."

"Adding that it was possible that "conservative religious communities in the U.S. are more successful in discouraging use of contraception among their teen community members than in discouraging sexual intercourse itself."

Note the term "possible".

I thought TTF limited itself to facts when promoting evil.

These are guesses.

September 17, 2009 10:27 AM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Once again more proof that abstinence only attitudes are an abject failure and result in more pregnancies than no education at all.

September 17, 2009 2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually, neither abstinence nor pregnancies were addressed

this brilliant study found that where abortion is considered immoral, births tend to be higher

Once again more proof that Canadian education is an abject failure and results in more idiocy than no education at all.

September 17, 2009 3:16 PM  
Anonymous who needs the constitution? said...

here's how we wound up with a Communist in a key White House position:

"(Sept. 16) -- The White House is pushing back as lawmakers from both parties ask more questions about President Barack Obama's so-called "czars."

Critics complain Obama has too many appointed advisers who are not subject to Senate confirmation.

House Republicans introduced a bill Wednesday that would require the president to lay out any czar's qualifications and responsibilities.

At the same time, Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold, a leading Senate liberal, sent a letter asking Obama to defend the constitutionality of naming policy advisers without Senate oversight."

September 17, 2009 5:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

here's Barry giving the Communists a boost:

(Sept. 17) -- President Barack Obama said Thursday his decision to reverse the Bush administration's decision to build a controversial missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic would not weaken the security of the U.S. and its allies against the threat of missiles from Iran.

But some in Eastern Europe are worried that scrapping the shield sends a sign of acquiescence toward Russia, which has stoutly opposed the plan from its inception.

"This move will be discussed here as another example of the Obama administration putting less into relations with Eastern Europe than his predecessor did," said Lukasz Kulesa, head researcher at the Polish Institute of International Relations in Warsaw. "That is seen as worrying."

Former Polish President Lech Walesa criticized the decision, and former Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek called it "bad news for the Czech Republic."

The generally cool reaction in Prague and Warsaw to Obama's announcement stood in stark contrast to a more triumphant tone in Russia. Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the Russian parliament, told Russia Today television that the decision was "a clear sign that the United States is taking Russia seriously.""

We need to see that birth certificate.

September 17, 2009 8:05 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Coming from a nurse's perspective, I wonder more about the statistics of events that happen between the time of conception and the birth. I see too many girls here, but not for 9 months....

September 17, 2009 11:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boy, it looks like teenaged mothers need a special "anti discrimination" category for them, to protect them from the type of nastiness that was spewed forth in this evil blog!

September 18, 2009 1:05 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

You reveal a lot about yourself, Anon, when you come to this "evil blog" to read "evil" comments every day.

Here's some news for you catch up on today.

Deeds Closes in on McDonnell in Virginia Governor's Race:

"...Former Virginia Attorney General Robert McDonnell holds a slim 48 percent to 46 percent lead over Democratic state Sen. Creigh Deeds with 5 percent undecided, according to a Rasmussen Reports poll conducted Sept. 16. The margin of error is 4.5 percentage points. Other polls in recent weeks had McDonnell ahead by between five and nine points..."

The 'God Gap' Between Republicans and Democrats Closed: Values Voters on the Left

"... "I don't think this project would have occurred to anyone 10 years ago because I don't think people took the idea of progressive religious activism seriously 10 years ago," said E.J. Dionne, a liberal-leaning Catholic and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, who was on a panel presenting the new study of religious activists, conducted by Public Religion Research and the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics. Michael Cromartie of the conservative-leaning Ethics and Public Policy Center was also at the release in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. He noted that the report puts to rest the question of whether there is a "God gap" between Republicans and Democrats: "Clearly, from this data, it's not only closing. It's closed."..."

September 18, 2009 8:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Abortion is evil, anon-B. It's the destruction of innocent life. Saying it's justfified because of the effect of that life on the financial status of its parents participates in the evil.

McDonnell will win. Deeds just flamed out in his debate yesterday.

Don't know what the meaning of your third point is. I've always maintained that liberal churches have been very active politically. Indeed, one of the absurdities of political discourse is that conservatives are always accused of mixing religion and politics while liberals are more likely to do it. I've also made the point many times that evangelicals are more open-minded and have more diverse political views than secularists. You're the one that always tries to tie religiosity and conservatism. Indeed, anyone who expresses a conservative view is regularly accused by TTF of having clandestine religious motivations.

September 18, 2009 9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bea -- I never said that this website posts evil things every day. I said that Jim's latest blog regarding teen mothers who refuse to abort their babies is truly evil.

September 18, 2009 11:36 AM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Bad anonymous said "McDonnell will win.".

Yes, and then he'll take his rightful place alongside president Huckabee and vice president Condoleeza Rice.

September 18, 2009 3:03 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Bad anonymous said "actually, neither abstinence nor pregnancies were addressed this brilliant study found that where abortion is considered immoral, births tend to be higher Once again more proof that Canadian education is an abject failure and results in more idiocy than no education at all."

LOL, secular societies have lower levels of abortion than religious societies:

"Indeed, the data examined in this study demonstrates that only the more secular, pro-evolution democracies have, for the first time in history, come closest to achieving practical “cultures of life” that feature low rates of lethal crime, juvenile-adult mortality, sex related dysfunction, and even abortion.".

Clearly it is your education that is the abject failure resulting in idiocy. Its well known that non-religious societies have lower abortion rates and this proves that abstinence only attitudes prevalent in religious societies are an abject failure and result in more pregnancies and more abortions than no education at all.

September 18, 2009 3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Priya -- Interesting note...Canada's rate of partial birth abortion is lower than that of the US because in Canada, you can't get partial birth abortions on demand. Since Canada controls their partial birth abortions, mothers who don't fall under the Canadian criteria are referred to US clinics for their procedures!

Interesting explanation as to why some countries have lower abortion rates, eh?

September 18, 2009 3:37 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Bea -- I never said that this website posts evil things every day. I said that Jim's latest blog regarding teen mothers who refuse to abort their babies is truly evil.

Anon, two things. First, while the rate of abortions does correlate in this study with religiosity, that is not what the article is about and is not what I was talking about. The fact is simply that teenage girls in religious regions have more babies. If you read the post you will see that I take this is a call for better comprehensive sex education.

Second, I am very concerned about your use of the word "evil" to describe the contents of this blog. You may disagree with my perspective, but there is something pathological about accusing me of publishing "evil" content on the blog. I read the word "evil" as a call to violence, a way to depersonalize me so that I can be punished as you and your "good" friends see fit, and frankly I am chilled by your expression.


September 18, 2009 3:44 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Bad anonymous, as you've been known to be a frequent liar, let's see some proof that Canadian residents are referred to the U.S. for parital birth abortions.

In any event partial birth abortions make up a tiny, tiny percentage of all abortions so, even if true (which I doubt) this wouldn't even begin to account for the lower rate of abortions in Canada as compared to the U.S.

September 18, 2009 3:50 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

I think Anon's basing her comment about Canadian late term abortions on this October 2004 dated Wikipedia entry, Abortion in Canada. The entry mentions that Quebec does not provide third-trimester abortions and it appears Anon has generalized that information to the entire country.

Here's the relevant Wikipedia passage: Third-trimester abortions are not generally available. For instance, in Quebec, there is currently no doctor who will perform a third-term abortion unless the health of the woman is in great peril or there is a genetic disorder. Currently the province sends women who seek to have third-term abortions performed to the United States. Quebec is currently actively looking to hire a doctor to do third-term abortions, but has not been successful as of October 2004.

Of course, Priya Lynn is correct. The number of third-trimester abortions is so low it cannot account for the difference in the number of abortions performed between the US and Canada.

September 18, 2009 5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

brilliant anonymous said:

"McDonnell will win.".

creepy canadian said:

"Yes, and then he'll take his rightful place alongside president Huckabee and vice president Condoleeza Rice."

CC, you're embarassing your friends here who were sure John Kerry, Al Gore, John Edwards and Joe Lieberman were in not long ago.

btw, Deeds got horrible reviews in his debate with McDonnell this week. After spending weeks attacking McDonnell's views on working women, Deeds snapped at a woman reporter on Thursday, "look, young lady, I've made myself clear"

"anonymous, as you've been known to be a frequent liar,"

that was a different anonymous than the one you usually rudely insult

just so you'll know, we've had a big conversation here in America in the last week and decided it's rude to call anyone a liar

try to follow the rules when posting in the superior country to the south

September 19, 2009 6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Deeds Shows Big Gains In Va. Poll
More in N.Va., Women Describe McDonnell As Too Conservative

September 20, 2009 10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually, McDonell was leading by two in anon-B's poll earlier in the week and this linked poll says McDonnell leads by four so it appears after misleading the public with his ads about McDonnell, Deeds appears to be slipping

if you'll look at the history, Democrats only win in Virginia if they pretend to not favor raising taxes

Deeds is not as good as subterfuge as past Democrats, who all raised taxes after pretending not to favor it

after first pretending this, reporters have pressured him into admitting he will raise taxes

this is a recent development and hasn't filtered out to the public yet but will

you can view footage of him stammering and flip-flopping on the issue on youtube

you can also view Mr."I'm-for-the-working-woman" call a grown woman reporter "young lady" when he snapped at her

or, if you don't want to do that, wait for the commercials from McDonnell, showing after the thousandth showing of Deeds talking about McDonnell's college term paper

McDonnell has the money to let the truth be known

September 20, 2009 6:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is a reply to bea, who asked for this before I headed off on vacation :

bea, you won't find the medicare cuts in the bill, they are in the congressional budget. the overall budget shows close to 500 billion in medicare cuts, and 1.8 billion or so next year. the 500 billion are shown in the overall congressional budget. patients first used to have the link, but I just got back from hiking and don't have time to look for it this minute. YOu can however, find the link that shows that the 500 billion medicare cuts over the next 8 years or so are real.....quite real, and are being used to fund the "health care overhaul" plan"

so, obama can argue that he can cut medicare (I will have paid a lot for medicare by the time I retire) without impact. I don't believe that. the cuts to cardiac and cancer care for our seniors, who have paid into medicare for their entire working lives, PROVES that Obama is out to steal from our seniors and our grandmothers health care to give that care to the illegals who are more likely to vote for democrats (with the possible one in the country exception of aunt bea, who still doesn't see the truth of what this will do to her husband, whom I have no doubt she loves dearly).

But medicare was designed for this, to even out the medical care expenses among all of us. and I am fine with this, even though I will pay more for my medicare than I will probably ever Mom will use it, and Bea will use it, and that's okay. I pay close to 4K a year and of course haven't deducted a thing. My company pays 4K.. so by the time I retire I will have invested close to 240K so if I need a hip replacement I HAVE ALREADY PAID FOR IT.

And the govt has no business telling me I am too old to have that hip replacement after taking my money to cover that old age care all my life. My health care and what should be done is between ME and MY DOCTOR. BEA DO YOU AGREE WITH THAT ?



enough said.

I can't figure out how to yell any louder.

You sixties idiots still have not figured out what a socialist you voted for.....

by the way, Humana sent out literature warning seniors of the coming cuts in medicare.....

and the govt started an investigation of them...

so what do you think JIm ?

Okay to censor free speech when it is speech you don't agree with ?

You have voted in a socialist.

WAKE UP !!!!

Are you evil ?

Wait till it is your mom that needs help. And then look in the mirror and answer your own question.


September 21, 2009 10:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and on the topic of the post, the issue is not birth rates but abortion rates... data is irrelevant without both

September 21, 2009 10:27 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

You need to do some more research Theresa, change the channel as Jim suggested.

I just googled for "500 billion medicare cuts over the next 8 years" looking for the link you can't find. When you find it, please provide it. The first MSM article I came across in my google search is this recent WaPo article, "Deficit Plays Into Health Reform" which like so many others I've read, tells me it's the mostly the GOP, with some Democrats joining them, who refuse to sign any health care reform bill that does not reduce the cost of government. It reports:

"...key Republicans and a growing number of Democrats say it will be hard to push an ambitious health reform bill through Congress unless it reduces projected federal spending on medical care and begins to bring the national debt under control...

...some Republicans are attacking the very notion of reining in out-of-control Medicare spending, charging that efforts to force hospitals and other providers to become more efficient would lead to "fewer choices and lower health-care quality for our nation's seniors," as House Republican Leader John A. Boehner (Ohio) put it this week...

While the Baucus plan is less generous than some Democrats would like -- the proposal would offer federal subsidies to a family of four if it earns less than $66,150 a year, compared with $88,000 in the original House measure -- other Democrats and several Republicans said it is more important for the proposal to save the government money.

"You won't get a Republican to sign on if it does not," said Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (Maine), one of three Republicans involved in the Finance Committee negotiations. "At this precarious time in our nation's history, frankly, we have to be rigorous in our fiscal approach. There's just no latitude."

Snowe and other Republicans are counseling Obama to scale back his expectations, not only to cut costs but also to deflate hysteria over reform. In a meeting at the White House last week, Snowe said she urged Obama to seek "practical" changes that "don't create too much upheaval and uncertainty."

Former Senate majority leader Robert J. Dole, a champion of bipartisan health-care reform who has been urging his former GOP colleagues to "stay in the game," echoed Snowe's remarks.

"Maybe we can't solve it all this year. If they can do half of it, it would be a miracle," Dole said. "And it would go down as a great example of bipartisanship and what a new president can do when he becomes a realist."

Dole added: "Republicans don't have to do anything. They see [Obama's poll] numbers falling and people protesting." But "we are not the 'no' party," he said. "I think a lot of Republicans do want to get a bill."

Among them are Sens. Bob Corker (Tenn.) and Judd Gregg (N.H.). Both say they are closely watching the Finance Committee talks. **Corker wants to see Baucus go even further to reduce future deficits** by offering a solution to the thorny problem of Medicare payments to doctors, which are scheduled to be cut by 21 percent in January. The Baucus bill contains $11 billion to delay the cut for one year, but Congress would have to come up with $285 billion to fix it for the next decade.

Gregg said that it is too early to tell whether he will support the Finance Committee bill but that the group is **"saying the right things," including emphasizing debt reduction.** Indeed, Gregg said, the health-care debate has exposed a fresh willingness in Congress to make "tough decisions" to fix the nation's budget problems...

So we've got Boehner saying "No cuts in payments to doctors" but Snow, Dole, Corker and Gregg all saying, cut costs or there'll be no deal. And we all know that if there's no deal, it means Medicare will go broke in 2018 and nobody's parents will be covered by it, no matter how much they paid into it.

September 22, 2009 9:38 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

I asked you another question too, Theresa. (And you too, Orin!) Enjoy your vacation but I'd be curious to hear you answer to this one, and I bet I'm not alone.

How do you reconcile your views against health care reform and this message from the Archbishop of Washington, Donald W. Wuerl:

"...We teach that health care is a basic human right, an essential safeguard of human life and dignity. Here in the Archdiocese of Washington, the Catholic community serves nearly 600,000 people in our hospitals and other health care facilities and over 120,000 persons through Catholic Charities, including its Family Centers, and even more through parishes. It is this direct, frontline experience that has guided the Church's efforts for decades to expand and improve health care coverage in our nation and our work for genuine health care reform today.

So, what are some of the basics of health care reform?

Health care reform especially needs to protect those at the beginning of life and at its end -- the most vulnerable and the voiceless. It is essential that reform include long-standing and widely supported federal restrictions on abortion funding and mandates and uphold existing conscience protections for health care providers. Abandoning current federal policies on abortion funding and conscience protection, thereby forcing people to pay for or participate in abortion would be morally reprehensible and a repudiation of the understanding of individual freedom and the rights of conscience that goes back to the American Revolution.

Universal coverage should be universal, including everyone. Health care reform cannot leave people out because of pre-existing conditions, chronic illnesses, their place of work or because they cannot afford insurance. Reform should not leave people out because of where they come from or when they arrived here.

The United Stated Conference of Catholic Bishops, following the Gospel mandate to care for the "least of these," urges us to look at health care from the bottom up. A particular gauge against which to measure true universal coverage would be how reform treats the immigrants in our midst who contribute their labor and taxes to our nation, but are at risk of being left out of health care reform..."

September 22, 2009 2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And we all know that if there's no deal, it means Medicare will go broke in 2018 and nobody's parents will be covered by it, no matter how much they paid into it."

You may have noticed that givernement programs that go broke don't end. They go into debt.

"the Gospel mandate to care for the "least of these,""

Gospel mandates are for individuals, not governments.

September 22, 2009 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Gospel mandates are for individuals, not governments.

It appears that Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl and the United Stated Conference of Catholic Bishops interpret "the Gospel mandate to care for the 'least of these'" differently than you do, Anon.

September 22, 2009 2:43 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

September 25, 2009 8:07 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

Sounds like an interesting conference, Paragon, but it has nothing to do with anything here, so I deleted your announcement.


September 25, 2009 8:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It appears that Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl and the United Stated Conference of Catholic Bishops interpret "the Gospel mandate to care for the 'least of these'" differently than you do, Anon."

A little deep for blog discussion but, yes, that would be a key area of divergence between Catholicism and authentic Christianity

September 25, 2009 2:03 PM  
Anonymous Stacy Williams said...

Proper education is the first thing.Teens should be well informed about teen sex and their consequences.In some countries they think pregency is blessing of god. But they are not ready to accept the negative impacts on the life.

Help for Troubled Teens

October 12, 2009 6:08 AM  

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