I was a high school art teacher in Texas until I returned to Juneau this past fall. Among my female students last year, there was a freshman with a 1-year-old, and three seniors who were out on maternity leave during the year.
Texas' teen pregnancy rate is between the second- and fifth-highest in the nation, depending on the source of the statistics. It also has the honor of being dead last among all 50 states in decline of pregnancy rates among 15- to 17-year-olds between 1991 and 1998. In other words, while other states were making headway in decreasing teen pregnancy rates, Texas wasn't. Statistics for sexually transmitted diseases are equally sobering, with Texas ranking second in the nation for cases of chlamydia among 16- to 24-year-old women.
Abstinence-only sex education is the state-adopted curriculum. Whether you believe abortion services should be available, the education and contraceptive services provided by Planned Parenthood can only be a boon to our teens. Educated teens are empowered teens. If we can learn anything from Texas' example, ignorance is not bliss.
Hey, let's not be like Texas.
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