Since the HIV/AIDS epidemic began in the U.S. in the early 1980s the issue of sex education for American youth has had the attention of the nation. There are about 400,000 teen births every year in the U.S, with about 9 billion in associated public costs. STI contraction in general, as well as teen pregnancy, have put the subject even more so on the forefront of the nation’s leading issues. The approach and method for proper and effective sex education has been hotly debated. Some believe that teaching abstinence-only until marriage is the best method while others believe that a more comprehensive approach, which includes abstinence promotion as well as contraceptive information, is necessary. Abstinence-only program curriculums disregard
The teenagers and children of today read about, listen to and watch all sorts of information about sex. While most adults have had some form of sex education, we must ask if this new generation is learning anything new or helpful from their sex education classes. The American culture and way of living is so absorbed in sex that children should be taught about it, people just can not agree on how to teach them. In her article New Sex ed Funding Ends Decade of Abstinence-Only, Kelli Kennedy proves that abstinence-only sex education classes and programs are not as good as regular sex education classes better than Shari Roan does in her article Teen pregnancy rates rises. Are abstinent-only programs to blame?
The philosophy behind abstinence-only policy implies that the greatest risk of informing students about their options for contraception would be that educators are condoning premarital sex. The risks that our students are already taking, however, are greater then policymakers are considering. It is generally accepted that the majority of sexual intercourse among young people remains unprotected (Westwood, 2006). Abstinence-only curriculum is not preventing adolescents from having sex; it is just making them naïve to the risks they are taking with their lifestyle choices.
Clemmitt (2010) states that currently the most effective approach to prevent teenage pregnancy is evidence-based sex education programs. The primary debate about the best method of preventing teenage pregnancy is between abstinence-only courses and comprehensive sex education. The author says that after operating comprehensive sex education, the Obama approach, many communities and county areas have drastically reduced the rate of teenage pregnancy. Studies and statistics suggested that abstinence-only courses have not contributed to reduce teenage pregnancy rates. The author points out that the abstinence-only courses also include sexually transmitted diseases classes and discussions of unhealthy relationship and making decisions, and abstinence
Even though sex education has been proven to lower pregnancy and abortion rates among teens, for years people have argued that comprehensive or safe-sex education encourages early sexual activity instead of steering the thought away. However, the main issue is not education about sex but specifically what kind of education. In 1986 Planned Parenthood commissioned a poll to determine how comprehensive sex education which teaches about abstinence as the best method for avoiding STDs and unintended pregnancy, when affected behavior. Much to the agency’s disappointment, the study showed that kids exposed to such a program had a 47% higher rate of sexual activity than those who’d had no sex education at all. In contrast, a 1996 study on “Project
Does “abstinence-only” programs mean abstinence-only lives for teenagers receiving this type of sexual education? There are those who fully support abstinence-only sex education while others deny its ability and believe it only under educates teenagers. From the latter, the author claims that abstinence only programs are not effective. He presents evidence to suggest this is valid, including that high school students need medically accurate information on how to decrease their risk of sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancy because they are sexually active. Though the underlying issue has merit and the argument is sound and is valid because of logical
“The United States ranks first among developed nations in rates of both teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases” (Stanger-Hall, Hall, “Abstinence-Only Education and Teen Pregnancy Rates”). According to several studies, this is mainly due to the fact that numerous states teach abstinence-only education, which usually does not include material on contraception, STIs, nor pregnancy. The alternative to abstinence-only education is referred to as comprehensive sex-education, where the practice of abstinence is promoted, but students are additionally taught about contraception, STIs, pregnancy prevention, and interpersonal skills. Despite the beneficial results of this alternative, abstinence-only education is still taught all over the
“A mutually faithful monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the expected standard of human sexual activity. Different people will disagree about the veracity of this statement, but we know that it does not reflect the experiences of the majority of young people” (Collins 1). Sexual education is a mandatory part of every grade school curriculum and is funded by the federal government. “The content of sexuality education curricula in America varies widely by region, by school district, and sometimes, by classroom” (Collins 1). I believe that because of this fact that it should be taught in a one consistent way.
Morris’s statement, echoed by her fellow abstinence-only proponents, would make it seem as if the United States government has not funded or promoted abstinence-only education. However, funding for abstinence-only programs has been increasing since the 1980’s, when it first began; “The Adolescent Family Act…was signed into law in 1981…to provide support to teen parents and ‘to promote chastity and self-discipline’ through a ‘family centered approach” (Schwarz, 2007). Even recently, in 2007, President Bush proposed an increase in spending for abstinence –only education, going from $176 million to $204 million (Boonstra, 2007). Percentage wise, “In 2006-2008 most teens aged 15-19 had received formal instruction about…or abstinence (84%)” (Guttmatcher Institute, 2012). A review conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that “youth who were assigned to the Title V abstinence “program group” were no more likely than youth assigned to the “services as usual” control group to have abstained from sex” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2007). The amount of funding for abstinence-only education is astonishingly high,
Programs that encourage abstinence have become a vital part of school systems in the US. These programs are usually referred to as abstinence-only or value-based programs while other programs are called as safer-sex, comprehensive, secular or abstinence-plus programs which on the contrary promote the usage of effective contraception. Although abstinence-only and safer-sex programs disagree with one another, their core values and stand on the aims of sex education is to help teens develop problem-solving skills and the skill of good decision-making. They believe that adolescents will be better prepared to “act responsibly in the heat of the moment” (Silva). Most programs that have been currently implemented in the US have seen a delay in the initiation of sex among teens which proves to be a positive and desirable outcome (Silva).
Abstinence only education is hindering the lives of teens in today’s world. Schools should stop teaching abstinence only education since, it increases the rate of teens having sexual relations with other people, it does not give students adequate lessons on preventing STDs, and the rate of teen pregnancy is higher for students who receive abstinence only education. As a nation we need to help teens protect themselves with this topic and most importantly approach it with caution. Many schools believe that abstinence only education is the most effective way to instruct students on the topic of sex when it clearly is not.
The controversial topic of whether or not sex education curriculum should teach contraceptive use or abstinence-only is heavily debated. In 2013, the U.S. totaled 273,105 babies born by teenagers, ages from 15 to 19 (“About Teen Pregnancy”). This raises the question: why is the number of pregnancies so high? Is the reason for that unsettling high, number because abstinence-only is being taught or contraceptive use is being taught? Students who are taught abstinence-only are more likely to wait to have sex, which results in the lowering of teen pregnancy. The abstinence-only curriculum also reduces students sexual activity.The sex education curriculum in the U.S. should consist of abstinence-only education.
the education can delay and reduce teen sexual activity, but there is no evidence for this
In the article “Abstinence Is the Best Policy in Preventing Teen Pregnancy” posted on the Opposing Viewpoints database, it is argued that teenagers are incapable of assessing and considering the risk of premarital sex and comprehension of the challenges in facing an unwanted pregnancy. The article goes on to say that while they are maturing, teens are drawn more to risky behavior including sexual behavior, and “as those choices get more risky […] guidance and limits from parents that are reinforced by peers, teachers, and other authority figures are critically important”. This article also challenges the results of sex education by stating that it is merely educational and shown to inform rather than change teens
It has been almost thirty three years since the first federal funding was put to use in “. . . sex education programs that promote abstinence-only-until-marriage to the exclusion of all other approaches . . .” according to the article “Sex education” (2010) published by “Opposing Viewpoints in Context;” a website that specializes in covering social issues. Since then a muddy controversy has arisen over whether that is the best approach. On one hand is the traditional approach of abstinence (not having sex before marriage), and on the other is the idea that what is being done is not enough, and that there needs to be a more comprehensive approach. This entails not only warning against sex, but also teaching teens about how to have