Jul 29, 2014

Does Abstinence-Only Education Work?

By comparing California with Texas, it seems abstinence-only education doesn't work.

For many Mission Viejo students, today is the first day of school.

California public schools are not required to teach comprehensive sexual health education. But 96% of schools districts opt to do exactly that. The teen birth rate in California is at a record low, too.

But abstinence-only programs tend to be in place where the country's highest teen birth rates exist, such as  Texas. In that state, the teen birth rate is the second-highest in the country.

Texas declined to take $4.4 million from the federal government for sexual education for teens. In Texas, 96% of school districts teach abstinence-only sex education and do not include prevention of sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy. According to the Huffington Post, "Teen pregnancy in Texas went up—higher than before 'abstinence only,' and more than 50 percent higher than the national average."

Despite evidence to the contrary, presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry seems confident that this policy continues to be the right choice.

The Moms Council lets readers know its opinions on the subject.

Wendy Bucknum says: I believe what message my teen needs to have on this subject should be left to Mom and Dad. It’s a shame that society today feels the need to do the education that should be left to a parent.

Paula Wallace says: Although I do not agree with sex before marriage ... I think the abstinence-only teaching is wrong! Kids are going to have sex regardless of beliefs of parents or anyone else. If you don't tell them/show them all the possibilities, they are left to figure them out on their own—and that is asking for trouble! They are teenagers. They are not capable of making good decisions yet (even if they think they are)!

Christine Atwood says: Morally, I believe that one should abstain from sex until one is in a long-term, monogamous relationship. However, to teach abstinence without also teaching teens some sort of birth control is irresponsible.  Those teens who are determined to have sex are going to, and I don't know one parent who would want their child pregnant in high school.

Look for Mom Talk every Wednesday at 1 p.m. for parenting topics, and get into the discussion.

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