So I’m flipping the channels and I come across the 700 Club and Pat Robertson is talking about how there’s too much sex on television and saying this is why our teenagers are having sex (right, because we never would have thought about sex as teenagers without watching Melrose Place). He referred to some anonymous TV executive he allegedly heard once say that sex on TV was planned because it brought in young viewers and advertisers liked young viewers.
Then he mentioned that the rate of teen pregnancy in the US was higher than any other industrialized nation, in some case two or three times as high. And this apparently is where he forgot completely how to think logically (if he ever knew how in the first place). Okay Pat, let’s think about this. Are the TV shows in the rest of the industrialized world less sexy than ours? Nope. In fact, they’re generally more permissive than American TV, which is considered rather prudish by most of Europe. So the nations with more sex on TV have lower rates of teen pregnancy than us. Sounds like teen pregnancy isn’t caused by sex on TV, doesn’t it?
Now let’s go one step further, Pat. What does virtually every nation in the industrialized world have that the US doesn’t? Truly comprehensive sex education. In most of Europe, particularly Northern Europe, sex education includes birth control, pregnancy testing and STD testing, and all both free and anonymous. And all of those nations have rates of teen pregnancy, abortions and STDs that are less than half the rate in the US; in the Netherlands, the rate is a full 7 times lower. So maybe, just maybe, if we stopped obsessing over sex on TV and made sure that all teenagers had access to comprehensive birth control, we could not only cut the rate of teen pregnancy, but we could drastically reduce the number of abortions you seem so concerned about. Isn’t logic wonderful, Pat?