The Washington Post has a news story Sunday about how teen pregnancies have fallen in Washington, D.C., and nearby suburbs since 1996 — a drop of 60 percent in the District. In 1996, Congress passed welfare reform, ending open-ended welfare benefits for unwed mothers.
The news story doesn’t even mention welfare reform, though. Viewing the world through politically correct blinders, it ignores the obvious, and grasps at straws searching for possible alternative reasons for the drop. It ends up citing the fact that in 1996, “a coalition of nonprofit groups and city agencies began reaching out to various communities, holding public discussions and trying to teach parents how to talk to their children about love, sex and relationships.”
The idea that “city agencies” in Washington, D.C., one of the most notoriously dysfunctional cities in America, had anything to do with the drop in teenage pregnancies is deeply amusing. The District of Columbia can’t even give children an adequate education, despite the fact that its schools spend more per student than the vast majority of America’s school districts. It can’t even prevent school shootings. The schools are so bad that even guilty liberal Washington Post staffers flee the District once they have kids.
What caused the drop in teen pregnancies was welfare reform. It sent a message that having kids out of wedlock is the road to financial ruin, not financial independence, for teenagers.
And the work of welfare reform is not yet done. After having their welfare checks cut off, some people who previously collected welfare checks now get welfare through the back door by collecting social security disability (or SSI) checks for vaguely defined mental or psychological problems. And in liberal states like New York, whose state constitution has been construed as conferring a limited “right” to welfare, legislatures seek to chip away at welfare reform.