By Maris A. Vinovskis
In study rooms and in dwelling rooms, in study associations and on Capitol Hill, teenage being pregnant is likely one of the so much arguable public problems with our day. but in spite of everything the research and govt attempt, what's rather identified concerning the challenge of adolescent being pregnant and the way to house it? and what's the position of the social scientist and historian in a public factor of this sort? during this research, Maris Vinovskis--a widespread demographic historian and a player in either Carter's and Reagan's Presidential projects on teenage pregnancy--sets those questions inside of a ancient framework and discusses a number of present concerns and coverage issues. Vinovskis starts off by way of analyzing adolescent sexuality and childbearing in early the US and comparing even if there has in reality been an ''epidemic'' of adolescent being pregnant in American heritage. within the following chapters, he addresses the increase of adolescent being pregnant as a countrywide factor and assesses the government's reaction to it, either in Congress and the Presidency. Bringing his targeted skills as a historian and a coverage planner to his examine, Vinovskis bargains readers a provocative new context for realizing a urgent public factor of the Nineteen Eighties.
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Extra info for An ’’Epidemic’’ of Adolescent Pregnancy?: Some Historical and Policy Considerations
22 Though some of the studies of sexual activity are based on small sample sizes and unrepresentative populations, the national surveys of sexual and contraceptive practices among female adolescents in 1971, 1976, and 1979 by Melvin Zelnik and John Kantner convincingly document an increase in the level of sexual activity among unmarried female adolescents (1977, 1978a, 1978b, 1980). The most recent national survey of adolescent sexual behavior shows a small overall decline from 1979 to 1982 (Moore, Wenk, and Hofferth, forthcoming).
Couples did tend to postpone marriage until the woman was about twenty years old, but individuals who married earlier were not ostracized or punished. A growing feeling that children should not marry too early did begin to emerge in the nineteenth century. Physicians cautioned young men and women against engaging in sex while their bodies were still growing because sexual activity was thought to drain the body of vital energy necessary for normal growth (Walsh, 1977; Bullough and Voight, 1973).
The cycle of premarital pregnancies in America resembles the English and French patterns. , 1980). To consider the trends in adolescent premarital pregnancies over time, we need to separate the data by the age at marriage of the women. Unfortunately, we only have such historical data from two Massachusetts communities—Andover and Hingham (see Figures l-2a and l-2b) (Smith and Hindus, 1975). The age-specific pattern in those communities roughly corresponds to the trend in total premarital pregnancies.
An ’’Epidemic’’ of Adolescent Pregnancy?: Some Historical and Policy Considerations by Maris A. Vinovskis