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Margaret Talbot has a wonderful piece out in The New Yorker about the political and social divides between liberal and conservative conceptions of teen pregnancy. Writes Talbot:
Social liberals in the country’s “blue states” tend to support sex education and are not particularly troubled by the idea that many teen-agers have sex before marriage, but would regard a teen-age daughter’s pregnancy as devastating news. And the social conservatives in “red states” generally advocate abstinence-only education and denounce sex before marriage, but are relatively unruffled if a teen-ager becomes pregnant, as long as she doesn’t choose to have an abortion.
I think this speaks to one commonality between the two sets of parents: They get upset when their kids prove their own values wrong. For a blue-stater who supports pre-marital sex, a child becoming pregnant or contracting an S.T.D. shows that contraception methods are not infallible, and forces the parent to come to terms with what her kid is actually doing behind closed doors. For a red-stater who opposes contraception, a child becoming pregnant provides a less permanent reality check: once the pregnancy is aired, the parent can rationalize the situation back into their world-view by saying that her child is in love, engaged, and will raise her own baby as a gift from God. Blue-staters without God to look back on probably just have to bite the bullet.