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Surprising Science

Religion and Teen Pregnancy – Perfect Together?

Where in the United States are teen-age girls most likely to become pregnant? According to this study, published last month in the journal Reproductive Health, the answer is: Where Evangelical Christians are most numerous.

The debate over whether abstinence education “works” has been running for a while now. This study acknowledges that different researchers have reached different conclusions, but it argues that the answer is: Nope, no way, nuh-huh.

The researchers, Joseph M. and Jillian C. Strayhorn, write that they found a direct link between religiosity and teen pregnancy, which is not an incidental byproduct of income differences or attitudes toward abortion. The aptonymically-named Strayhorns believe the explanation could be that religiously-raise teen girls aren’t given much sex education, and that early-life motherhood is not stigmatized in religious households the way it is in secular homes that put more emphasis on individual autonomy and self-expression.


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