AP, via MSNBC:

In a troubling reversal, the nation?s teen birth rate rose for the first time in 15 years, surprising government health officials who had no immediate explanation.

The birth rate had been dropping since its peak in 1991, although the decline had slowed in recent years. On Wednesday, government statisticians said it rose 3 percent from 2005 to 2006.

[S]everal experts said they have been expecting a jump. They blame the increase on increased federal funding for abstinence-only health education programs that do not teach how to use condoms and other contraception.

Some key sexually transmitted disease rates have been rising, including syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia. The rising teen pregnancy rate is part of the same phenomenon, said Dr. Carol Hogue, an Emory University professor of maternal and child health.

?It?s not rocket science,? she said.

Color me unsurprised. It’s not like there isn’t plenty of evidence out there that “abstinence-only” doesn’t reduce the incidence of teen sex. I find the chart particularly revealing.

What’s wrong with giving young adults all of the information – including that abstinence is the only fool-proof way to avoid disease and pregnancy – and then trust them to make good decisions? It’s been shown to work, if you define “work” as reducing teen pregnancy and the spread of disease.

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