Dr. Carol Cassell’s book- Why Knocked Up? The Paradox of Sex, Magical Thinking, and Accidental Pregnancy in This Age of Contraception- explores why there are still sky rocketing rates of unplanned pregnancy in the United States, even though birth rates are at an all time low. Every “one out two women will have at least one unintended pregnancy in her life” (the rates of unwanted and unintended pregnancies among men surveyed is much higher). Also notable is the highest population experiencing unintended pregnancy, as Dr. Cassell’s research notes that it is not teenage girls as one might assume, but women ages 20-24. Perhaps more notable is the fact that women ages 25-29 have actually had an increase by 8% in unwanted pregnancy over the last few years. Women really only have two options when they experience an unintended or unwanted pregnancy- have the baby, or terminate the pregnancy.
Dr. Cassell explores the political debates offered, by both “far-right extremist” parties and liberal Democrats (she openly identifies as the later) to resolve the issue of unintended and unwanted pregnancies, or not. There is an abundant amount of up-to-date and relevant information noted, quoted, and shared from research studies, politicians, activists, and personal statements. For those who don’t quite have a full grasp on why the United States falls 31st (out of 44 developed countries) of “best places in the world to be a mother” (Norway is #1, FYI) after almost 200 pages of explanation and rationale, Dr. Cassell offers a lengthy addendum as well as notes and sources that she utilized and quoted throughout the book.
It is fitting that I read this book, and finished it, the same week that the Omaha Public School Board will vote on whether or not to update their sex education curriculum to be both comprehensive and medically accurate. I found many of the themes in Dr. Cassell’s book were relevant to the current OPS debate. She commented frequently about the backlash that comprehensive sex education receives, despite the science and statistics that back it up. In fact, comprehensive sex education is one of Dr. Cassell’s solutions to lowering the rates of unwanted and unintended pregnancies. I couldn’t agree more with Dr. Cassell or the profound research!
I highly recommend reading this politically charged book at the prime of its relevance. Why Knocked Up is available for purchase on amazon in both paperback and kindle version.