To Battle Teen Pregnancy Crisis, Texas Builds $1.2 Million Abstinence-Only Website

Vagina demagogues.jpg
You're a public health policymaker in Texas. Teenage girls in the state are getting knocked up at an alarming rate, then they're having babies and getting knocked up again. The data, along with the bulk of the scientific literature, suggest that the state's longstanding strategy of telling kids not to have sex isn't working.

Do you A.) come to terms with reality and embark on a campaign to teach kids about safe sex and the benefits of contraception; or B). declare jihad on family planning clinics and pour $1.2 million into an abstinence-only website and ad campaign?

Having trouble? Go back to the first sentence. Focus on the "Texas" part. The correct answer is clearly b.

See also: Here Are All The Reasons Why Texas Teenagers Can't Seem to Stop Getting Pregnant

The family planning cuts instituted by the state legislature over the past two legislative sessions have been well documented. The $1.2-million abstinence-only web campaign, ourtown4teens.org, rolled out this month.

The site is not primarily directed at wayward teens. It's designed as a resource for communities hoping to combat the problem of teen pregnancy, which presumably explains the mosaic of old and/or male faces at the top of the page.

In theory, it's a worthy endeavor, In practice, it has some glaring flaws, which the Texas Observer's Carolyn Jones noted today.

One is the impenetrable jargon:

Although the site offers reminders why adolescent pregnancy is to be avoided--girls don't finish school, babies have worse health outcomes, taxpayers foot the bill--it seems primarily to be a home for buzzwords like "community mobilization," "strategic action" and "conceptual framework."

Sadly, if you're all fired up about combating adolescent pregnancy in your area but you don't speak jargon, then this website probably isn't for you.

See also: Worth the Wait, DISD's Potential New Sex Ed Curriculum, Teaches Some Really Weird Stuff

Two is the site's obsessive avoidance of birth control

The site doesn't contain a word about contraception, even though Christine Mann, a state health department spokesperson, described the project as a "hub of coordinated information" to help communities reduce teen pregnancy. This omission is especially stark given that Texas' family planning clinics have been defunded and access to birth control, especially for teens, is a real challenge. Texas also has the third highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation, yet the website sheds no light on one very practical way to avoid an unwanted pregnancy.

There are practical reasons for that, as Jones explains in her piece. The site is partially paid for with federal funds earmarked for states to use for abstinence-only campaigns (the federal program was first baked into the welfare reform bill that passed Congress in 1996). Texas is particularly covetous of such funds, since the program dovetails so nicely with its homegrown approach to sex ed.

This sort of misses the whole point. The question the state should be asking isn't whether its new website is philosophically pure but whether it helps prevent a significant number of teenagers from getting pregnant. The prospects for that seem doubtful.



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30 comments
scamsANDflams
scamsANDflams

every aborted fetus is a lost consumer....big money in treating (treating mind you not curing) stds...Its all simple economics

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

 Sure, NOW, with this ONE government program, the Dallas Absurder is concerned with whether or not it actually WORKS.  If we demanded that our government only spend money on things that WORK, then we can pretty much shut down the departments of education, HHS, Labor, Homeland Security, the DEA, EPA, NSA, CIA, NLRB, and the USPS.

ebailey75057
ebailey75057

ROFLMAO,  this is hysterical!!!  A totally useless website that continues to pander a failed philosphy attempting to convince teenagers not to have sex for 1.2 million?  Which one of Perry's relatives received that kickback?       

doublecheese
doublecheese

You know how teenage girls get pregnant?  Because their (way too often 20 something) boyfriends eventually get these girls to let them stick it in without a condom.  Come on, just the tip baby.  Just for a second.  I won't come inside.  

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

I think the idea is to talk at teenagers about "strategic action" and "community mobilization" until they're too bored and depressed to get it on. 

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

If repubs want to stop their precious angel baby children from having sex, they should post a video of a couple of typical Texas repubs procreating. That would probably be enough to get 99.9% of kids to swear off fuckin forever.

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

Obviously a website would have stopped me from sex when I was in high school.......

jamessavik
jamessavik

1.2 million for a web site? I'm guessing some state senators worthless in law is building it.

fir3walker
fir3walker

It is important to teach children that they are helpless pawns to their hormones and shouldn't be held accountable when they ultimately give in to their human urges...

... nor should they be held accountable for the consequences of giving in to those urges by providing them with free abortions on demand, at any age.

The goal is here to make life as convenient as possible for these crazy kids on their way to becoming responsible adults.  

And remember, it's not a "baby"... it's a fetus because, as we all know, fetuses don't feel any pain... right? 

And even if they did, who cares?

What matters is convenience... it's priceless!!

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Since the site requires effort to get there, kids who aren't buying the bs won't go there. Parents with common sense won't go there.

More like a place for ostriches to go while their heads are buried..like preaching to the choir of our self deluded masses who just want a forum to reinforce their prejudices and idiot ideas, and not let any facts get in the way.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

It's part of the campaign to get the 22% of teens having more than 1 baby up to a more impressive 33%!

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

3/5 Vaginas, I just cant go higher.  Not enough perry bashing and far too generic for me today. 

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

They should try super glue.

PrivateVR
PrivateVR

@everlastingphelps Vocational rehabilitation is currently under the DOE and for every dollar spent on services roughly 7 dollars is returned in tax revenue. I would say that particular service works pretty well. 

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@doublecheese 

I wonder if they teach that fact in Abstinence Only type classes?

Because, if they did, just that one little nugget of info might go a looooong way towards reducing the number of teen pregnancies we have currently. 

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@Anna_Merlan 

As a former teenage boy, I can testify to the fact that when phrases like "community mobilization" are uttered by adults, most teen aged boy's minds start drifting off towards the boobs and butts of their female classmates.

The only "strategic action" they are thinking about is the kind that is planned for Friday night in the back of mom's Camry.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@fir3walker 

Don't be willfully ignorant, we aren't talking about children, we are discussing teens.

Teens =/= children. They are a another breed, they don't think like adults, they don't yet fully comprehend actions and consequences - they are going to have sex.

doublecheese
doublecheese

@TheCredibleHulk My honest belief is that there's no such thing as (non-mentally retarted) teens that don't know where babies come from.  I really don't think they exist.  Every one of them knows that every animal and human on this planet has been born because the male stuck his dick in the female's vagina.

The real confusion comes when kids think it's somehow hard to become pregnant, or that you really have to try.  Maybe that's because by the time people these days get around to having kids, it actually IS hard to get pregnant, and requires fertility treatments so often.  They don't realize that they are in their most fertile years.  You see, nature actually intends for teen girls to become pregnant.  It was the way of humanity for at least its first 200,000 years, until the last half of the 20th century.  

So teens actually know where babies come from.  They know how NOT to become pregnant.  They even know about condoms.  They really do.  They underestimate the risks they take.  And that doesn't just include sex.  It includes just about every dumb thing teens do.  That's teens for you.

Why don't they use condoms?  First, because of the innate risk taking behavior of teens.  But most importantly, because condoms really suck.  Most people who start having sex will use condoms at first just to be safe.  The shittyness that is condoms soon becomes way too apparent, and you want to stop using them.  Hence, the boyfriend who convinces the teen girl to just let him stick the tip in and promises that he won't come inside her.

So the way I see it is, sex education really doesn't matter, because you're only going to follow the education and use condoms for a short period of time anyway.

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

@RTGolden1 RT and Merk and Hulk and everybody!!!! 

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@doublecheese @TheCredibleHulk 

Also, I do know this about teenage boys - if the girl insists that the only way that she will let him "do it" is with a condom on, he is going to comply.

In short, the information is relevant and useful whether or not you think teens will use it - and in that same vein, do you oppose giving teens information on contraception based on the ideas in your treatise above?

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@everlastingphelps @TheCredibleHulk @fir3walker 

Teens are neither children nor adults.

When they behave like children, they should be treated like children. When they behave like adults, they should be treated like adults. 

And when they behave like monsters, they should be treated like . . . monsters.

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