Weekend Reads: Birth Rate News, Soccer’s Sexism Problem and Mailing Children… Really

Happy Weekend Readers! The Hellions and I have been back from Camp Quest Ohio for a week now and it looks like we survived largely unscathed. We had a blast and I’m already planning on going back next year. I’ll be doing a big post about it soon, but here are some pix to tide you over until then.

The US birth rate has hit a new low, a decline largely attributed to declining teen pregnancy rates.

But perhaps the biggest contributor to the declining birth rate is increased access to more reliable forms of contraception. The teen birth rate has dropped 67 percent since 1991 and 51 percent since 2007 alone, even as teens reported no significant change in their abstinence or sexual activity. Research has attributed much of the drop in the teen pregnancy rate to growing contraceptive use and access to easier-to-use, more effective forms of birth control.

Recent numbers show the teen birth decline is getting steeper: In 2015, the rate fell 8 percent, and the new CDC numbers indicate a 9 percent drop in 2016. This is unequivocally a good thing. Around 8 in 10 teen pregnancies are unplanned, and only half of teen mothers graduate from high school by age 22. Programs that offer free and low-cost IUDs to teenagers—such as those in Delaware and Colorado—have helped the proportion of mothers who want to be mothers grow. People who fear a falling birth rate can advocate for policies like universal paid parental leave if they’re scared for the U.S. economy, but let the teens keep their contraception.

In the developing world the picture is not as rosy, as up to 214 million women want birth control but have no access. 

Meanwhile in Iowa, four of the states Planned Parenthood location will close after the state passed a defunding measure in May.  Wow, fuck Iowa…

Soccer is a beautiful sport, the women’s game has shown remarkable growth in the last few years with the popularity of the Women’s World Cup and the collegiate game driving interest. But an ugly strain of sexism is keeping qualified women out of the coaching ranks. 

Of the 10 teams in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), only one team — the Seattle Reign — has a female head coach. Out of the top 50 ranked D-I women’s programs in 2016, 14 had female head coaches. In 2015, across all divisions, 338 women’s soccer programs out of 1,047 had female head coaches. The National Soccer Coaches Association of America has a membership of over 30,000, but only 15 percent are female. In USSF’s recent pro A license course, this picture from its pilot course of all men, mostly white, pretty much speaks for itself. The sequel wasn’t much better; out of 17 participants, only one was a woman: USWNT head coach Jill Ellis.

The mixed messages from Education Secretary Betsy Devos and the Cheeto Tinted Tyrant can be deadly to transgender youth.  As a parent of a kid exploring a non-binary identity this is personal to me.

It sometimes feels like every step forward we make in civil rights and equality we make two steps back. I know parents of transgender students in other school districts and other states who’s children are treated horribly in schools. There has been study after study done on how an unsafe and unequal school environment can have deadly consequences for a student facing the living hell called non acceptance. I’ve said it before and I will say it again. My son has lost three transgender friends to suicide who were students. They could not take a life without protections from the enduring torture they received. With no advocates, with no recourse, with no one to stand up for them, they could not go on anymore.

The Supreme Court ruled this week that a same sex spouse has the right to be listed on a child’s birth certificate, great news for non-traditional families!

How to get your kids ready for the upcoming eclipse!

And finally in the “Not a New Story but News to Me” section we have this… A Brief History of Children Sent Through The Mail. 

But while the odd practice of sometimes slipping kids into the mail might be seen as incompetence or negligence on the part of the mail carriers, Lynch sees it more as an example of just how much rural communities relied on and trusted local postal workers.

“Mail carriers were trusted servants, and that goes to prove it,” Lynch says. “There are stories of rural carriers delivering babies and taking [care of the] sick. Even now, they’ll save lives because they’re sometimes the only persons that visit a remote household every day.”

Luckily, there are more travel options for children these days than pinning some postage to their shirts and sending them off with the mailman.

If you are at all familiar with the history of the Skepchick network you would know that we don’t have a very high opinion of the Youtube Atheist community, a pretty toxic mess of misogyny, racism and general douchbaggery. But there are some exceptions and those exceptions are exceptional. Here’s Steve Shives talking about how awesome Mr. Rogers was.

Louis Doench

Lou Doench is a 52 year old father of three. Twelve years ago he married the coolest woman in the world and gave up the lucrative career of being a photography student to become a stay at home husband and Dad, or SAHD. An atheist geek, or a geeky atheist if you prefer, Lou likes reading, photography, video gaming, disc golf, baseball and Dr. Who. He has been playing Dungeons and Dragons since 1976. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is also an excellent home cook, not that his children would know because they only eat Mac & Cheese. Follow Lou on Twitter @blotzphoto or check out his photography at

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