OPINION: Questioning Sex-Ed In School

Staff writers open discussion of sexual education in high school

Staff writers open discussion of sexual education in high school

Staff

Sex. The subject is all around us: in advertisements, in our conversations and in our education. Approximately 76,400 teenage girls are impregnated every year in Texas. In order to ensure these numbers do not continue to rise, Texas must abandon its conservative, abstinence-only platform and adopt a new, more inclusive policy which combines aspects of abstinence but also provides students with an informative education about contraception sex.

The top ten states with the highest rates of teen pregnancy are in the South and include Texas, which ranks at number three with 63 births per every 1,000 teens and about 30 pregnant teens a month, according to americanlivewire. The correlation between high teen pregnancy rates in the South and the largely taught abstinence-until-marriage sex education programs is obvious. With pregnancy rates rising in the South the demand for a new concept of teaching sex ed, one which recognizes sexually-active teenagers, is indisputable.

The Texas Republican platform states: “We oppose any sex education other than abstinence until marriage,” according to amazonaws. This is not a realistic approach to teaching teenagers about sex. The state of Texas should take into consideration that 47.4 percent of high school teenagers already have had sex, and these students should be educated on how to have intercourse safety. Abstinence-only programs are not only ineffective in lowering STD or pregnancy rates, but students who are taught sex education without the mention of contraception are less likely to use condoms or birth control while having sex. Texas public schools should include a contraceptive sex education class in order to keep both pregnancy and STD rates low.

There are positives to teaching abstinence, however. The sooner a person becomes sexually active, the sooner they are prone to get harmful STD’s and STI’s, and young women are typically not yet physically or mentally prepared to bear children. About two-thirds of teens that engage in sexual actions also say they wish they had waited until they were older to start being sexually active. It also teaches to the generally conservative ideals that are often common beliefs in Texas and other states in the South. These conservative, southern ideals are perhaps why abstinence remains the format for which sexual education is taught, however a child’s education on sexual intimacy should be based on fact, rather than on opinion.

From 2010, President Obama has endorsed the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (TPPI) which partners with the federal Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) to reduce pregnancy in teenagers by increasing young people’s access to evidence-based and informed programs (contraception sex education). These steps have proven helpful, however more must be done to ensure that all teens, regardless of where they are brought up, receive a thorough sexual education so that pregnancy, STD’s and STI’s can be prevented. Abstinence-only teaching has proven ineffective in the large scheme of teenagers’ lives, and this outdated method of dealing with sex must be modernized.

The Texas Democratic platform “support targeted efforts to reduce Texas’ high teen pregnancy rates, including the provision of accurate and effective, comprehensive age-appropriate sex education programs with an abstinence component.” This platform plans to provide individuals with a sexual education that includes abstinential components, yet recognizes the need for students’ knowledge of safe sex and emphasizes contraception.

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