Mississippi has to lower teen pregnancy

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 27, 2009

With a teen pregnancy rate more than 60 percent higher than the national average, Mississippi cannot allow its moral indignation to cloud common sense.

But if the din of crying babies held in the arms of mere babies wasn’t enough, sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise in the state’s teens (and pre-teens), too.

So what’s the good state of Mississippi to do about it?

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Sen. David Jordan, D-Greenwood, says as much as it hurts him to advocate it, the state has no other choice but to consider teaching sex education in the school.

He’s sponsored a bill that would create a pilot program for providing sex education to Mississippi’s public school students.

Opponents of the bill have thrown moral barbs at Jordan for daring to suggest that the state actually talk to students about the birds and the bees.

Although we certainly don’t like the fact that teens are having sex — and babies — at such an alarming rate when compared to their peers, those are facts.

Denying the facts is futile.

So the question, is do we just continue to look the other way? Do we ignore the obviously glaring facts that point to the lack of parental involvement and leadership in educating children about sex? Or do we as a state step up and do something about it?

While leaving such topics up to parents once upon a time managed to get the word out, that’s no longer the case.

All the education funding in the world won’t do a hill of beans if the children we’re trying to educate become parents too soon or, worse yet, contract sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS.

Let’s let common sense have a small, but important, victory and seriously consider adding sex education to the state’s curriculum.