The rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S. rose steadily during the Bush administration, U.K. newspaper The Guardianreported earlier this week.

The Centers for Disease Control press release mentions three statistics as "signs that progress has halted in some areas" (the full report is here):

• Teen birth rates increased in 2006 and 2007, following large declines from 1991-2005.

• Rates of AIDS cases among males aged 15-24 years increased during 1997-2006 (AIDS-related data reflect people with HIV who have already progressed to AIDS.)

• Syphilis cases among teens and young adults aged 15-19 and 20-24 years have increased in both males and females in recent years.

U.S. News and World Report's Bonnie Erbe responds to the statistics by directly blaming Bush and the "Christian Right," while The Dallas Morning News's Tod Robberson offers tips for how to educate teens about sex, and Time magazine adds perspective by examining the numbers specifically for young women in foster care.

Not all the data in the release are new; The New York Times reported on some of it in 2007, where Robert Rector, a senior fellow with the American Heritage Association, connected low levels of education with a desire for motherhood without marriage.

"We should be telling them that for the well-being of any child, it's critically important that you be over the age of 20 and that you be married," he said. "That message is not given at all."

The Guardian article reports, "Although the CDC does not attribute a cause, groups that support comprehensive sex education have seized on the report as evidence of the failure of religiously-driven policies ...

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