For the first time since 1991, the teen pregnancy rate has increased, say the Centers for Disease Control. As the New York Times reports, the CDC's findings have "fueled a debate about whether the Bush administration's abstinence-only sexual education efforts are working." What's there to debate? I thought we'd already established that the answer was a resounding No. The Times wonders if dwindling AIDS education is to blame for the rising percentage of pregnant teens: "Recent advances in AIDS treatments have lowered concerns about the disease, and AIDS education efforts, which emphasized abstinence and condom use, have flagged." But beyond just teen motherhood, rates of pregnancy for women of all ages has increased, from 14 all the way up to 42. I have to wonder: Is the recent fetishization of celebrity motherhood partially to blame for the population explosion?
Are women seeing Angelina and her passel of Benetton-ready brats and thinking, "That looks so easy! I can't wait to be up the stick!" Or do they see Isla Fisher poop out a baby and look tabloid cover ready within a week and think motherhood will barely make a dent on their physique or their social life? Related: since 1990, the low birth weight rate has increased 19%. Are women, desperate to retain their pre-baby bodies, skimping on the nutrition?
At this point, the CDC says that "The average number of births that a group of women would have over their lifetimes - increased 2 percent in 2006 to 2,101 births per 1,000 women. This is the highest rate since 1971 and the first time since then that the rate was above replacement - the level at which a given generation can replace itself." At least celebrities are setting a good example in terms of adoption, because with this many babies being born, I bet the number of unwanted ones will increase as well.