But perhaps there's an economic factor that not only complements but supersedes the usual tedious cultural explanations. Maybe it happens when people stop viewing unplanned pregnancies as an impediment to their future upward mobility, because they don't feel that they have any upward mobility to look forward to. Hell, not all of them are unplanned anyway, which presents another set of issues.
Exactly. Where's the disincentive, if you're not going to go to college and get that sweet law degree anyway? It may be even more true in small towns, where the opportunities are all elsewhere, so staying is itself a life decision on a par with getting knocked up.
Sometimes it seems like viewing social and cultural issues through the prism of economic opportunity -- especially the economic empowerment of women -- is like beating a dead horse, yet it's an undeniably compelling common element. Perhaps when the Democrats get that 90-seat margin in the Senate, they'll pay attention to mundane things such as income disparity and wage stagnation, which are the real hidden drivers behind the economic crises, and the different ways those problems touch people's lives. Not as entertaining as the rubbers-versus-abstinence scrums, but probably more useful.