Fracking Stops Unwanted Pregnancies

fracking sign

No, you’re not reading the headline wrong, that’s really the conclusion of the Guttmacher Institute:

With only one Planned Parenthood facility in the entire state and 75 percent of the population living in counties with no abortion provider, North Dakota’s teen pregnancy measures seem an unlikely cause. With the influx of young men to the state, the numbers are even more puzzling.

As our nation’s most recent oil boom continues to unfold, North Dakota has been at the forefront of shale excavation. Thousands of workers have flocked to the otherwise sparsely populated state, creating boom towns, new roads, and revitalizing the state’s economy, as North Dakota has reaped the benefits of the Bakken shale that sits thousands of feet below.

Yet, even with the third highest men to women ratio in the U.S., teen pregnancy has subsided, possibly due to the low economic inequality and the unusual gender ratio. “Research suggests that women are more likely to delay pregnancy when they perceive future opportunities to climb the social and economic ranks,” writes Hess. Rarely is an unemployment rate of 3.2 percent blamed.

All joking about fracking (is there anything it can’t do?), the real cause of lower teen pregnancy rates is a good economy. In fact, a good economy tends to depress birth rates among all demographics. One of the reasons while global population growth is slowing, as I noted earlier this month, is because of evolving economies leading to more opportunities for education and careers for women.

As more opportunities become available for women, the greater the opportunity cost for having a baby. So fewer women have children. Or they have fewer children.

North Dakota has a strong economy because of fracking. North Dakota has the lowest teen birth rates in the nation, despite having just one abortion clinic, thanks to the strong economy.

Meaning that the cure for unwanted pregnancy might not be “free” contraception mandates, such as the controversial provision in Obamacare, or government-mandated sex education but rather a strong, growing economy.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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