Calling Mississippi’s nation-leading teen pregnancy rate an “epidemic,” Gov. Phil Bryant said, “Churches, schools, community organizations and most importantly, families, must realize that the highest teen pregnancy rate in America will eventually cripple our state.”
He challenged Mississippians to become as intolerant of teen pregnancy as they have smoking. “Forty years ago many of you here today would be smoking during this ceremony,” he said during his inauguration. “It was the norm and few would have noticed. Society, however, decided that smoking was harmful and a slow but certain repudiation of the habit began.
“A similar repudiation of teen pregnancy must begin throughout Mississippi society,” he said.