Abstinence-Only vs. Comprehensive Sex Education Essay

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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…show more content…
Other supporters think that sex education should not deviate from other teachings of other health curricula such as drunk driving, tobacco use, drug use, alcohol consumption, gun use, fighting; all things which are taught to just not do (Collins, Alagira, and Summers 12-13). They believe that it is the responsibility of a public institution which serves kids to teach them risk avoidance rather than harm reduction (“WebMD: Better Information. Better Health”). Many advocates for abstinence-only education believe that its message is strongly intertwined with traditional values and religious faith; both of which they claim to have measurable influence in preventing teens from having sex (Collins, Alagira, and Summers 12-13). Christian conservative women believe that comprehensive sex education would encourage sexual activity and lesbianism, as well as undercut marriage and create social decay (Fields 24). Proponents for abstinence-only education believe that the abstinence-only message has contributed to the decline of adolescent sexual activity as well as negative related outcomes. In the 1990s there was a decrease in adolescent pregnancy, birth and abortion rates. These proponents attribute these declining statistics to the abstinence-only message and claim that the declines cannot be accredited to increased
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