Any of you ever hear of Abstinence Only Education? There are a few non-profit organizations that have worked to get this type of education into public schools and many have succeeded. If you’ve never heard of Abstinence Only Education its pretty easy to figure out what it stands for. Instead of teaching children about ways to prevent STDs and pregnancy through the use of contraceptives and abstinence, abstinence only is just that, teach children only about abstinence and forget about the other stuff. While it is true that the only fool-proof contraceptive is to abstain from sex we need to remember that teens are curious and sometimes may give into peer pressure and/or temptation.
Often times, Abstinence Only Education is promoted by religious based organizations wishing to preserve teenagers’ purity. They will constantly hammer into these children, that sex must wait until marriage, not that this is a bad thing, but if you’re not also providing these children with the necessary tools to protect themselves then you’re setting them up for failure (either by pregnancy or STD). These organizations feel that by making it sound as if a teenager’s only option is abstinence that they’ll simply not have sex, what a joke. While some may mention various forms of birth control, they’ll generally only share the failure rates and none of the benefits. Let’s face it, teenagers can be a reckless and curious bunch, and as much as parents and educators would like to think that they can control a teenager with education they’re just lying to themselves.
During George W. Bush’s Presidency, he pushed for a chastity-until-marriage approach and during that time, teenage pregnancies continued to be out of control. Obama’s administration moved the “sex talk” approach back to “scientifically validated, comprehensive sex education.” With this new focus the National Center for Health Statistics reported that the 2009 US teen birth rate dropped to its lowest level in 70 years, mostly caused by, according to the Guttmacher Institute, more teens regularly using contraceptives when they have sex. The historic high in the United States was in 1970 with 644,708 teenage pregnancies, the 2010 numbers, 409,840, still too many but its progress.
The numbers don’t lie, while teen pregnancies obviously fluctuate for a number of reasons, there is a direct correlation between the rise of abstinence only education and increased teen pregnancies, and the rise of comprehensive sex education and the subsequent drop in teen pregnancies. Ultimately parents should be taking responsibility for ensuring that their children are properly educated in these manners, but many parents are either irresponsible or simply wish to avoid the topic. If your children are receiving abstinence only education you need to take it upon yourself to fill in the blanks so that they are adequately prepared should the situation ever arise.
- Shock: Abstinence-only education does nothing to reduce teen pregnancy (shortformblog.com)
- Teen pregnancy rate at record low in California (latimesblogs.latimes.com)
- US Teen Birth Rates Highest In Abstinence-Only States (pinkbananaworld.com)