Study: Gay teens have higher pregnancy rates
ST. PAUL, Minn. (BP) -- A Minnesota study that found lesbian teens four times more likely to become pregnant than their heterosexual peers has been called a predictable reflection of the homosexual community's apparent emphasis on sexual activity.
"Some people may be shocked by the high pregnancy rates among the lesbian and gay teens," Evan Lenow, assistant professor of ethics at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, told Baptist Press in written comments. "However, this confirms what studies have shown for years. Individuals who identify as lesbian and gay are much more likely to experiment with sex and have many more sexual partners than their heterosexual counterparts. Some of these teens who identify as lesbian and gay may be simply experimenting with all types of sexual partnerships and thinking less about the ramifications of such experimentation."
According to the 2015 Minnesota Adolescent Sexual Health Report, gay males and those questioning their sexual orientation are four times more likely than their heterosexual peers to report getting someone pregnant. Bisexual girls are more than five times more likely to get pregnant than heterosexual girls.
The survey of nearly 78,000 9th and 11th graders found that 2 percent of boys self-identified as gay or bisexual, with another 3 percent calling themselves unsure or questioning. Among girls, 5 percent self-identified as lesbian or bisexual with another 3 percent unsure or questioning.
The study noted higher levels of sexual activity in general among self-identified lesbian, gay, bisexual, questioning (LGBQ) youth, with 50.9 percent of lesbians and 48.7 percent of gay males saying they have had sex. Only 23.5 percent of heterosexual girls and 25.9 percent of heterosexual boys reported having had sex.
The use of drugs and alcohol before sexual activity among LGBQ youth was also higher, according to the Minnesota study, which drew from data collected in 2013.
"The one thing we know for certain," Lenow said, "is that God's design for sexuality is still the answer for these problems. God created us to express our sexuality through the covenant of marriage between one man and one woman. All sexual expression outside of this standard is a violation of God's design."
Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and author of "God on Sex" as well as a 2015 commentary on Song of Solomon, told BP "the sexually promiscuous often are looking for meaning and significance." However, "they are looking in the wrong place. What they long for is found only in Christ."
"Sex is a good gift from a great God," Akin said in written comments. "However, it is a dangerous gift that must be handled with care as God designed it. Any time we divert from the divine pattern, the consequences will be disappointing and tragic. And, the further down the road we walk from His plan, the more will be our sorrow and pain."
The Gospel Coalition's Joe Carter reported that at least two other studies have corroborated the finding of higher pregnancy and sexual activity rates among homosexual youth. Such findings may reflect "loneliness," "an unmet need for intimacy and connection" or "unresolved emotional problems" among teens who self-identify as gay, bisexual or questioning, noted Carter, who also serves as communications specialist for Southern Baptists' Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
Bob Stith, founder of Family and Gender Issues Ministries in Southlake, Texas, told BP data on teen sexual activity indicates "the sexual confusion of many of these young people." He suggested the distinction between homosexual and heterosexual teens often is not "quite so clear" as researchers imply.
"In the haste to break down biblical standards, our culture is experiencing a spiritual truth," Stith, the Southern Baptist Convention's former national strategist for gender issues, said in written comments. "Once you deny biblical truth, regardless of how 'spiritual' this process may sound, you will have greater difficulty determining where to draw the boundaries. And while some of those who redefine the boundaries may not" approve of the behavior of sexual active teenagers, "they have opened the door for each man doing what is right in his own eyes."
Data on teenagers' destructive sexual behaviors should call Christians to action, Stith said.
"This is another wakeup call for the church to learn more effective ways to teach our young people and to minister to those who are sexually confused," he said. "We simply can't afford to keep doing what we've always done nor can we settle for [merely] saying, 'This is wrong,'" without explaining why. "In order for this to happen, we must provide in-depth training."