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The Bush Baby Boom

Yet another report confirms, as The Guardian explains, “that rates of teen pregnancy and STDs are, after more than a decade of decline, once again on the rise.” Thanks to President Bush’s abstinence-only sex education agenda, black, Hispanic and poor women are more likely to have unwanted pregnancies.

Ironically, Bush’s policies could produce a boom of baby Democrats.

Not to make light of America’s tragic backsliding in this area. A surge of unwanted pregnancies will doubtlessly lead to a surge in abortions. And we know conclusively that abstinence-only sex ed spreads disease alongside ignorance.

This is one of the former president’s failures that deserve more attention. Abstinence-only sex education is still failing children across America.

Melissa McEwan in The Guardian:

The new CDC report notes that “Every effort was made to present the data in a consistent manner with regard to age groups, race/ethnicity, sex and geographic location,” leaving an explicit investigation of poverty out of the equation altogether – though its findings indicate that American teens whose race/ethnicity and/or geographic location suggest a greater likelihood of poverty are also the most likely demographic to have increased rates of unwanted pregnancy and STDs. Both pregnancy and Aids rates are higher among Hispanic and non-Hispanic black young women aged 15-19 than any other ethnic group. Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis were highest among non-Hispanic black young women and men aged 10-24. And the southern states “tend to have the highest rates of negative sexual and reproductive health outcomes, including early pregnancy and STDs.”

The Bush-era insistence on catastrophically inefficacious abstinence-only programmes did not only see a race- and income-based divergence in its effects domestically, but internationally, too. Like the global gag rule, which restricted US government funding to NGOs that provided abortion counselling or services abroad, Bush’s much-lauded Pepfar (President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief) programme made a condition of its funding that one-third go to abstinence-only campaigns — though, in practice, fully “two-thirds of the money for the prevention of the sexual spread of HIV [went] to abstinence,” with tragic results among black and poor populations in Africa.

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