Teen pregnancy, illegitimate births need attention

Did you catch the subtle divergence between governors as they discussed the problems of teen pregnancy and illegitimate births in Mississippi?

In his first month, Gov. Phil Bryant said, “We can no longer pretend that teen pregnancy and illegitimacy are non-issues. We must boldly confront the facts and address them. We lead the nation in teen pregnancy and consequently, low birth weights and high infant mortality rates. We know a child born to a teen mother almost always has a difficult path to success.”

In his last month, Gov. Haley Barbour said, “Our state ranks near the worst for children born to teen-aged girls and the data is emphatically clear that children born out of wedlock, with no father at home helping raise them, suffer dramatically higher levels of poverty, drug addiction, incarceration, premature death. They have lower birth weights, worse infant mortality rates and smaller chances of finishing high school.”

Bill Crawford
2/14/12