How does North Dakota do it? “It’s not by having such great sex ed, contraception access, and abortion providers,” Guttmacher senior researcher Laura Lindberg told me, listing off solutions favored in more liberal states. No—North Dakota has one Planned Parenthood in a 700,000 square-mile state. Seventy-five percent of North Dakotans live in counties with no abortion provider. State law mandates abstinence-only education in its schools....The scare is for progressives who want to believe their anti-teen-pregnancy policies work best. So it can't be that all the policies they've opposed — abstinence only education! — actually work. The theory is presented that North Dakota — with all that fracking — has a booming economy and females delay pregnancy when economic prospects are high (and when there's a plentiful supply of men to choose from).
Now, here's the craftily written last paragraph of the article (which appears at Slate and The Washington Post):
Add it all up—a sparsely-populated state heavy in white men, low in sex education, and bursting with oil—and you don’t find many helpful clues for crafting national policy....It's important for progressives to exclude the good results in North Dakota, which call into question whether the progressive policies are the correct policies. Time to quote a professor:
“North Dakota is just off-the-charts, demographically,” says June Carbone, a law professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and co-author of Red Families vs. Blue Families: Legal Polarization and the Creation of Culture. The state may prove that white, middle-class teens will probably do OK in the absence of comprehensive sex ed and well-funded reproductive health centers, as “they’ll learn from their families, their peers, their doctors, and the internet.” But that doesn’t change the fact that “the pernicious impact of abstinence-only education is its combination with poverty,” Carbone says. “The best contraceptive has always been a promising future, and North Dakota is one of the few places in the United States right now that is booming."Off-the-charts, demographically... white, middle-class teens will probably do OK... I can think of a way to translate that into blunter language that would — speaking of scary — sound really awful.