Sunday, March 18, 2012

The News-Gazette discovers women are a bunch of dirty sluts

I was thinking about coming off my long blog hiatus by bitching about the News-Gazette's recent editorial approving of the new Presidential power to assassinate American citizens he has declared to be terrorists, when they came up with an even more annoying one. In this case, it's one about how unmarried, teen girls are having all these babies and that's why you can't have nice things.

I'm certainly not going to disagree with the notion that becoming a teenage mother can have severely negative consequences for a woman. Not to mention the difficulty it places on a young woman trying to finish high school, let alone college, childbirth is a significant financial cost when it comes to health care.
After a long series of statistics about the high cost of maternity, the News-Gazette's main complaint in their editorial is that Obama has made it difficult to kick these girls off of Medicaid.
What can the state do about reducing its cost for Medicaid births? Thanks to President Barack Obama's national health care plan, the answer is nothing.
Obamacare rules forbid any reductions in eligibility requirements that might cut the Medicaid rolls. Indeed, over the new few years, many thousands more Illinois residents are expected to be added to the Medicaid rolls under Obamacare.
So, really, this editorial has nothing to with teen mothers at all. After discussing the impact teen pregnancy has to a young woman's future, the core message to their editorial is that society shouldn't be paying for the cost of their health care. After all, what an unemployed, 16-year old mother needs to go with her newborn is a $10,000 medical bill.
The editorial characterizes the problems with Medicaid funding as the "high cost of social collapse", that it's "social disintegration", and that these young women have a "dangerous social pathology." I'm honestly surprised this editorial doesn't call these girls "welfare queens."
Of course, there's one way to make sure that teenagers don't become mothers and fathers, and that's comprehensive sex education. Information about and access to birth control does, shockingly, prevent unwanted pregnancy. (Now, I swear there was another recent editorial where the N-G approved of employers being allowed the "religious freedom" to restrict their employees access to birth control, but I can't seem to find it now.) In fact, any discussion of how to prevent what the N-G claims is a scourge upon our society is conspicuous in in its absence.
It is a standard trope of the right-wing that America is deteriorating and if only we went back to 1950s social policy/enforced mandatory prayer in schools/put gays back in the closet/slut-shamed women more, everything would get better. So this teenage-pregnancy-cum-Medicaid-collapse scandal is, of course, part of that:
It's a seemingly intractable problem that reflects a slow and steady cultural decline.
Except that's not true! According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, the teenage pregnancy rate in Illinois dropped 40% between 1988 and 2005. (That's the most recent data I could find.) According to this article in The Economist, not only are a lot of other factors about American life better than they have been in the past, but the teenage pregnancy rate is the lowest it's been in 40 years.

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