Glenn T. Stanton seems determined to be viewed as Focus on the Family’s chief homophobic crackpot.

Glenn T, Stanton

Monday, Glenn T. Stanton asks (at The Federalist of course): “Why Are Lesbian Teens Having Two To Seven Times As Many Babies As Their Heterosexual Peers?” Stanton’s subtitle reads:

The surprising statistic suggests that for many, LGBTQ sexual orientation is not a fixed identity, but rather something that fluctuates.

Stanton is intellectually dishonest because he strives to conform science to his conservative Christian beliefs. This leads to selective observation and misconstrued opinions based upon biased analyses. It is selective observation of data from selective observation of studies.

Stanton being Stanton, the question that he asks is based on a false premise. The subtitle is also false, as presented. Stanton’s goal is to somehow prove that sexual orientation is mutable (gay is a choice). He is selling the notion of pregnant lesbians as proof of mutability. Yes, lesbian get pregnant at higher rates than heterosexuals and gay boys and men are more likely to impregnate their partners. Both are less likely to use contraceptives. The fact that they are engaging in heterosexual sex is meaningless with respect to sexual orientation.

While orientation is fluid, it is within a limited range and fluidity has nothing to do with changing sexual orientation. The example that I often use is outdoor temperature. It varies but there isn’t much that we can do to change it.

You will need hip boots as we wade through the raw sewage. It is more nauseating than would be suggested by assigning the offending material to bovine discharge.

One thing you would think lesbians wouldn’t have to deal with is pregnancy. Seems like a solid assumption, right? Not so much.

Sexual orientation is a continuum with heterosexual and homosexual at the extreme ends. I am a gay man. I am also bisexual. I identify as gay because that is where I am most comfortable. Presumably there are many lesbians with a similar disposition. So, no Mr. Stanton, I am not at all surprised that some lesbians get pregnant.

Remarkably, research shows teen who identify as lesbian have significantly higher pregnancy rates than their heterosexual peers. I know what you’re thinking, but it’s true. It’s also true for teen gay males:
they are substantially more likely to impregnate their sexual partners
than are heterosexual males. The dramatic disparities are explained in
these graphs from the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The first link is to a 2015 article in the Star Tribune. Stanton calls it research. It is not research. It is based on a purported survey of unknown origin which was then analyzed by a small non-profit (around $300 thousand in revenues) called Teenwise Minnesota (TM). TM has two websites. The first (as indicated on their 501(c)3 tax return) is blank. An earlier site exists. TM used to be called Minnesota Organization on Adolescent
Pregnancy, Prevention and Parenting
or MOAPP. The most current survey data from that site is from 1998. According to the Star Tribune article:

Teenwise Minnesota, a statewide organization that promotes the sexual health of young people, uncovered the trend in teen pregnancies while correlating the data from the latest statewide survey of student health. It was the first time the survey, which was first done in 1992, asked 9th- and 11th-grade students about their sexual orientation.

Neither Stanton nor the Star Tribune provide a link to the data. Based on the references to ninth and eleventh grades I am pretty sure that they are referring to the Minnesota Student Survey which is completed every three years. Teenwise would have relied on 2013 data (the article predates the 2016 survey).

The survey does provide information on sexual orientation:

However, the information regarding pregnancy does not identify sexual orientation:

What we do know from the survey is that we are dealing with a minuscule sample. 1% of all female students (pregnant) which means that the gay sample is about 5% of 1% or 0.05% at most. It is statistically insignificant. Even if lesbian girls are five times as likely to get pregnant, we are dealing then with 5% of 5% or 0.25%. And, as a reminder, I cannot find data to support the contention that gay girls get pregnant more that straight girls. It might be out there but Stanton hasn’t reviewed it.

Stanton should come to the same conclusion.

However, he likes what that 2015 article says and, thus, finds no reason to challenge the data. I will send an email to the operations director of Teenwise, Charissa Osborn (which I obtained from GuideStar). No email address was provided for the executive director, Judith Kahn. In the email I will link to this post. If she can enlighten me, I will revise this or post anew. It is safe to assume that Stanton has not done so.

If the data is different; if I am incorrect in any way, I will be more than happy to make the correction. No problem.

Stanton indulges in reprinting charts from the same Star Tribune article. The charts are based on percentages which are highly misleading due to the sample sizes and the comparison of a very small sample to a relatively large sample. That presupposes, of course, that Teenwise had data that I have been unable to locate. It is certainly possible but Stanton has not asked the obligatory questions.

Then it’s time for Stanton to add some flow to the swamp:

Numerous studies across many nations find that sexual-minority youth aged 14 to 19 have pregnancy rates two to seven times greater than their heterosexual peers. And their pregnancy rates continue to rise at a time when the overall teen pregnancy rate is declining in the United States.

The first link is to a study by Elizabeth M. Saewyc at the University of British Columbia School of Nursing. It is apparently a literature review. It concludes that gay girls are more likely to get pregnant. That stands to reason. With less experience they are possibly less like to use contraceptives. That two-times as likely was derived from a 1986 survey which, presumably, had an even smaller sample size due to stigma.

The second link is to a study out of University of South Carolina. It, too, is a review of survey data (in contrast to original research and interviews):

Unintended pregnancies are common in the U.S.(accounting for half of pregnancies) and are
associated with various negative health and well-being outcomes for mothers and children.
Despite research finding that sexual minority women have higher rates of teenage pregnancy and
risky behaviors, no prior studies have investigated unintended pregnancy among sexual minority
women of reproductive age (15-44) using a large nationally-representative data set. We use the
National Survey of Family Growth to identify whether sexual minority women are at elevated
risk for unintended pregnancies.

Moreover, this is based on unintended pregnancies. It also stands to reason that many more lesbian pregnancies are unintended than heterosexual pregnancies.

The flow of odious substances continues:

Only one study to date, published earlier this year, has examined the pregnancy rates of adult sexual-minority women. It reveals the same thing: unintended pregnancies are higher among sexual-minority women than their heterosexual peers. Their proportions for ending pregnancies by abortion are double that of heterosexual women.

Stanton is flat out wrong. That study does not examine pregnancy rates. Again, it examines unintended pregnancies{

To date, no studies have investigated whether sexual minority women (SMW) are more likely to experience unintended pregnancies compared with their heterosexual peers. The aim of this study was to explore whether adult SMW were more likely to have unintended pregnancies compared with heterosexual women, to examine the role of identity–attraction congruence in unintended pregnancy risk, and to evaluate possible mediators.

Once again, if something seem to correlate with Stanton’s ultra-conservative Christian views it needs no further explanation.

Unprincipled “logic”

In this case the intellectual dishonesty has been replaced with outright dishonesty. In short, it’s not what he says it is and that is not uncommon for Stanton. Stanton is not interested in anything other than trying to prove a point about gay people. In that regard, Stanton fails.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.