Houston's Children at Risk has published a new study of teen pregnancy that highlights two findings: California does a much better job at preventing it than abstinence-crazy Texas, and 80 percent of Harris County parents support sex education that starts by middle school at the latest.
"This [research] sheds light on the problem here in Texas, and nationwide," said Dr. Robert Sanborn, president and CEO of the group. "It's time we take real policy action to end teen pregnancy. It's costly to our taxpayers, and it has a devastating effect on our teens."
Between the years 1991 and 2008, the study says, California's teen birth rate dropped 49 percent. In that same time period Texas's dropped by only 20 percent.
What does the group suggest Texas can adopt from California?
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A coordinated approach to teen pregnancy prevention, which includes mandating evidence-based sex education programs, improving access to contraceptive services, reframing the issue in the public sphere, and partnering with the community may help Texas realize greater successes in preventing teen births.
"Improving access to contraceptive services"? We can only assume they are talking about greater distribution of abstinence pamphlets, which are incredibly effective in generating revenue for publishers and for assuring head-in-the-sand parents that any and all problems are being taken care of.
The poll by Children at Rick involved 1,201 respondents. Two-thirds said sex education "should include information about condoms and contraception."
CAR also noted that "Hispanic parents showed the highest support for teaching sex education and providing medically accurate information on condoms and contraception in middle school or earlier."