In classrooms and in living rooms, in research institutions and on Capitol Hill, teenage pregnancy is one of the most controversial public issues of our day. Yet after all the investigation and government effort, what is really known about the problem of adolescent pregnancy and how to deal with it? And what is the role of the social scientist and historian in a public issue of this kind? In this study, Maris Vinovskis--a prominent demographic historian and a participant in both Carter's and Reagan's Presidential initiatives on teenage pregnancy--sets these questions within a historical framework and discusses a host of current issues and policy considerations. Vinovskis begins by examining adolescent sexuality and childbearing in early America and evaluating whether there has in fact been an "epidemic" of adolescent pregnancy in American history. In the following chapters, he addresses the rise of adolescent pregnancy as a national issue and assesses the government's response to it, both in Congress and the Presidency. Bringing his unique qualifications as a historian and a policy planner to his study, Vinovskis offers readers a provocative new context for understanding a pressing public issue of the 1980s.
"Fascinating...Vinovskis brings his background as a historian together with his unique experience as a participant-observer in federal-level policy making to bear on a series of significant and neglected questions surrounding the issue of adolescent pregnancy."--Contemporary Sociology
"Vinovskis is to be congratulated on an important book whose historical and policy recommendations are invaluable in an area of grave social concern."--The Annals of the AAPSS
"What a sobering lesson for policymakers and the concerned citizen!"--Glen H. Elder, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
"The evidence Vinovskis brings together on teen-age pregnancies ought to open many eyes...The policy recommendations he makes are realistic as well as fresh, for they, too, are drawn from a knowledge of history as well as from a sensitivity to social change."--Carl N. Degler, Stanford University
"Vinovskis shows that persons with opposing perspectives differ as much in how they define the problem of adolescent pregnancy as they do in their personal and political values, and that these differences arise in part from hurried and partial assessments of the historical and demographic facts."--Kristin A. Moore, Child Trends, Inc.