Perry was obviously unprepared for this question...but I'm somewhat incredulous that you all seem to have come to the conclusion that one bad answer in an interview means stupidity.
Rather than jump to any conclusions like that, I thought I'd do a little research. First, according to this
, Texas is fourth in teen pregnancy rates, not third. Small matter, but would be helpful to look at the sex education programs of say, the top 10 or 20 states (including Texas) in teen preganancy rate and see if any conclusions could be drawn that abstinence-based programs are ineffective.
So #1 in teen preganancy rates is New Mexico which according to this report
mandates contraception education, only "covers" abstinence, and requires discussion of sexual orientation be inclusive. Texas is #4 and is basically on the opposite end of the spectrum from NM. TX "stresses" abstinence, doesn't mandate education on contraception and requires only negative information on sexual orientation.
Of the ten states with the highest pregnancy rates, five (AZ, TX, AR, GA, TN)require abstinence but not contraception education. One (NM) requires contraception but only "covers" abstinence. Three (MS, DE, SC) require both abstinence and contraception. One (NV)we have no data for.
Looking at the second ten....three (FL, OK, LA) require abstinence but not contraception. Two (CA, HI) requires contraception and only "covers" abstinence. Four (NC, AL, CO, NJ) require both and one (NY) we have no data for.
To recap, 8 of the top 20 states with the highest teen pregnancy rates have similar programs to TX. 3 of the top 20 focus on contraception (with just a little nod to abstinence) and 7 require both abstinence and contraception.
So what did I learn from this research? Very little...
Basically the only conclusion one can draw is that a state's teen pregnancy rate is not dependent on the type of sex education offered by the state. The interviewer presumed a causation that does not exist. And Gov Perry was not wrong (or stupid) in his response, just awkward and unprepared.