June Carbone and Naomi Cahn, “Pregnancy often puts success out of reach for teens”

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This is an Op-Ed by two fantastic Feminist Law Profs, and it is accessible here. Below is an excerpt:

The news that Sarah Palin’s unwed teenage daughter is pregnant highlights a surprising reality in today’s America: The ultra-conservative morality many associate with the red states is out of step with the reality of 21st century America. Today’s America rewards women who avoid teen pregnancy, study longer and marry later.

The ultra-conservative morality espoused in the Republican platform, on display this week at the GOP convention, emphasizes a “traditional understanding of marriage.” The platform seeks additional funding for abstinence education, which teaches abstinence until marriage as the responsible and expected standard of behavior,” pointing out that abstinence “is the only protection that is 100 percent effective against out-of-wedlock pregnancies.”

That’s the platform. The reality is that red states have higher teen pregnancy rates, more shotgun marriages and lower average ages of marriage and first births than blue states. Teenage girls in the red states are more likely than their blue-state sisters to have sex and get pregnant, marry early and get divorced, stop going to school and go to work and end up raising their children in poverty. …

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