It’s Only Getting Worse

I wanted to share this great article about the continued push for abstinence only education in schools.  Some of the most important key points I wanted to highlight are:

 “Fewer babies were born to teenagers in 2010 than in any year since 1946,” though teen birth rates remain highest in the conservative states, where abstinence programs are popular.”

Endless studies and research show that abstinence only education in no way prevents unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.  In fact, these numbers are higher in conservative areas that do not include comprehensive sex education.  A push towards increased abstinence only education is not good policy based on scientific evidence, it is an example of elected officials pushing their moral objectives on their constituents at the detriment of their state’s youth.

How do we deal with other risks? We teach teens about the use of seat belts, the dangers of drunk driving and the risks of texting while driving. Parents don’t lobby for anti-driving laws; instead, they literally hand the car keys to their children and take them driving, or send them to a driver’s education program. We give swimming lessons and warn kids about not swimming alone, or going “out too far.” Responsible firearm owners recommend courses to teach the young about the proper handling of firearms, and the risks and dangers involved. They try to educate children what to do if they encounter a firearm accidentally.

We need to stop wasting valuable time treating sex differently than any other risk.  We need to educate and empower the youth with the skills and knowledge to make safe decisions, as we would handle driving, swimming, underage drinking, and the other risks they may encounter.  Instead law makers are trying to make condom demonstration and distribution illegal which is dangerous and will inevitably reverse these huge strides we have made in reducing teenage pregnancy nationally.


About Alyssa

Alyssa is a public health professional working at a public health non-profit in Washington DC. Previously, she worked as a shift manager on the online national sexual assault hotline and was a health educator at a community clinic in San Diego County where she focused primarily on reproductive health such as family planning and STI prevention. She received her BA in International Studies-Political Science with a minor in Sociology from the University of California, San Diego. In between her formal education she circumnavigated the globe on Semester at Sea, lived in Spain, and worked on a Community Development project in rural Kenya (Kakamega represent).

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