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02 September 2008
Why do so many teenage girls get pregnant?
The news that Bristol Palin is pregnant means that this American election is in danger of becoming a soap opera. However, on the other hand, it provides an opening to discuss an aspect of American society which this writer knew nothing about until today. Namely that fully one-third of American girls under the age of 20 become pregnant. The figures are slewed a bit by the fact that most of those pregnancies occur to Hispanic or black girls, but a figure of 26.6 per thousand of the population amongst white girls is nothing to be proud of either.

Let's be clear that we are not talking about people getting married earlier in the USA than they do in Britain. Like Britain, what is happening in the USA is that these pregnancies are unplanned, and almost half a century after the introduction of the contraceptive pill that statistic is frightening.

Something is clearly going wrong with both countries' sex education programmes. When your friendly old Exile was young and he went out looking to do a bit of shagging he can count on one hand the number of women who said that they were not on the pill. In fact so ubiquitous was that contraceptive 30 years ago that most men just assumed that all women were taking it - unless they were told differently.

So why are the daughters of those women so stupid as to not take simple precautions? It might be argued that men are just as responsible for unwanted pregnancies as women, but that argument is flawed. We are not the ones left holding the babies, and in an emergency we can always pack a bag and get out of town. Sorry, girls, it's as brutally simple as that. Blokes will tell you anything if it means that they can get you on your backs.

So, let's accept the situation as it is and stop fantasising about how we would like it to be. Basic sex education for all teenage girls should include a lesson on men and our tricks, with the conclusion being that it really is up to the girls to take the precautions that their mothers took until they actually wanted to become pregnant.

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