In Mean Girls fashion, a Texas high school recently suffered a chlamydia outbreak. They may not have been told, “Don’t have sex, or you’ll get pregnant, and die,” but as their sex education curriculum is entirely abstinence-only, it is not out of the question. Over 20 students got chlamydia, further demonstrating that preaching abstinence to a group of horny teenagers is ineffective.
In 2008, Texas had the third highest teen pregnancy rate in the United States. That being said, 94% of Texas public school districts teach abstinence-only sex education, and over 50% of Texas high school students lose their virginity during their teen years. For this reason, abstinence-only sex education is ineffective.
The abstinence-only movement began in 1981 during the Reagan administration, with the idea that if teenagers don’t have sex, they won’t have to deal with STI’s or the other consequences. But this is not the case. Teens in abstinence-only programs are more likely to have unsafe sex or contract STI’s because they were never educated on prevention in the first place. Therefore, it is ridiculous that over $2 million of the already swollen federal budget went to funding an ineffective program.
Furthermore, the United Nations has declared that it is a human right to “‘seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds,’ including information about their health.” It also has declared that both children and adults have the right to an appropriate education on HIV/AIDS. It is the government’s responsibility to provide these materials. However, in Texas, most information about contraceptives and condoms are laughably missing from textbooks.
Therefore, Obama’s budgetary changes in regard to national sex education were entirely justified. His choice to defund a completely nonsensical burden to the United States and to increasing funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative will ultimately shift the ignorant teaching culture regarding teenage sex. Classrooms will be forced to recognize the reality of dangers surrounding sex and how to appropriately prepare student for them. More teenagers will be well informed, driving down teen pregnancy and infection rates. Finally, the United States will align with the much-needed moral standards set by the United Nations.
Abstinence-only sex education is selfish. Teenagers are going to have sex regardless. Giving them inaccurate information about their health is both harmful and immoral. Time and time again, abstinence only education has proven to be ineffective. In fact, the states with the most right wing sex education programs have the highest teen pregnancy rates.