Arizona Among "Religious" States With Highest Teen Pregnancy Rates

A recent study suggests states deemed highly religious have a higher teen-pregnancy rate than more God-challenged states; as expected, Arizona is ranked in the top five in the religious category.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Drexel University, suggests that certain values found within very religious communities are the cause for the spiked rate of pregnant teeny-boppers.

Joseph Strayhorn, one of the study's primary researchers, tells Live Science that communities adopting a literal interpretation to the Bible often discourage the use of contraceptives and rarely do enough to discourage teens from having sex.

Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Strayhorn compiled data from the 2007 U.S. Religious Landscapes Survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and compared it with data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To define "highly religious," those polled were asked if they agreed with a series of questions, including: ''There is only one way to interpret the teachings of my religion," and ''Scripture should be taken literally, word for word."

Literal interpretation, huh? How do some of these Bible-thumpers feel about Deuteronomy 22:20-1:

"If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the girl's virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father's house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done a disgraceful thing in Israel by whoring while still in her father's house."

If we're gonna be literal; being in the five-spot on this list may produce a shortage of stones as well.


KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
James King
Contact: James King