08 May 2009

It's not a conspiracy; it's evangelical Christian capitalism

Only 4 in 10 teenage mothers finish high school; less than 2% of girls who have babies under 18 will finish college by the time they are 30; just waiting until 20 or 21 increases the odds fourfold. Two thirds of families of young unwed mothers are poor. When pregnant teens do marry, they are 50% more likely to get divorced than those who marry without being pregnant.

Bristol [Palin]'s main message as she stepped out this week was only partially about abstinence. It was more about parenthood: that it is hard, and exhausting, and bittersweet to hold your blessed child in your arms and wonder at him, while knowing that your friends are at the movies, and your term paper is due, and everything that was supposed to be normal right now is hovering just out of your reach. "I'm just here to tell teens this is a really hard job," Bristol told Matt Lauer. "It's not like an accessory on your hip. It's hard work."
Look, the Religious Right knows which side its bread is buttered on. The fewer young women finish high school and go on to college and graduate or professional school, the fewer women total are in positions of management, corporate boards, judicial benches, and higher education. By the same token, the more you tell people that abstinence is the best way to prevent teen pregnancy, while knowing all the time that there are piles of research to the contrary (2007 President Bush Administration PDF), the more teens are going to get pregnant.

It's not a conspiracy. It's Religious Right capitalism keeping its women out of higher education, higher socioeconomic class, and power.

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