In a shockingly progressive move, President Obama unwaveringly turned the country towards education, choice, and sexual revolution (finally!) by acknowledging that teens have sex, regardless of teachers and/or parents telling them not to until marriage.
The sexual revolution was legislatively proposed in Obama’s 2017 budget proposal by swiftly and completely eliminating all funds for abstinence-only-until-marriage sex-education programs run by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Specifically, Obama’s proposal eliminates $10 million-a-year for abstinence-only programs, increases funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program run by the Office for Adolescent Health, maintains funding for the Division of Adolescent and School Health run by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and extends the Personal Responsibility Education Program run by the Office of Administration on Children, Youth, and Families (the only program devoting funds to Indian tribes).
As anyone who has studied or participated in abstinence-only-until-marriage programs can attest, withholding information about sex leads to an increase in teen pregnancy—the very outcome abstinence-only education is supposed to prevent.
Let’s get real, the government has tried to withhold the truth about sex, mutual consent, and contraception for almost three decades by limiting education, access, and community support with little to show except the number one spot in teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections in the developed world. Bravo.
Everyone—federal investigations, The Washington Post, PLOS One, The Guttmacher Institute, SEICUS, and more—concurrently and indisputably agree that abstinence-only-until-marriage sex-education is a colossal failure compared to comprehensive sex-education that stresses contraception use.
Contrary to claims about their efficacy, abstinence-only programs fail miserably in the real world. But why?
A 2004 investigative report from the House Government Reform Committee found that 11 out of the 13 most commonly used abstinence-only program curricula (which means millions of children are hearing this in public schools each year) provided inaccurate and abusively false information. A highlight of the fallacies perpetuated to school children include:
– A 43-day-old fetus is a “thinking person”
– HIV can be spread through tears
– You can become pregnant simply by touching someone else’s genitals
– Condoms fail to prevent HIV transmission in heterosexual sex 31% of the time
– Women who have an abortion “are prone to suicide”
– 10% of women who have an abortion become sterile
These programs often ignore contraception options completely and in some cases even teach misinformation about the anatomy and physiology of sexual intercourse. With these sorts of standards how could anyone be expected to understand the consequences of sex or how to prevent unwanted pregnancies?
However, the real reason abstinence-only education fails is because of how the government has chosen to define said programs. Following is a selection of the federal definition of abstinence-only education:
“B) teaches abstinence from sexual activity outside marriage as the expected standard for all school-age children;
C) teaches that abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other associated health problems;
D) teaches that a mutually faithful monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the expected standard of human sexual activity;
E) teaches that sexual activity outside the context of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects;
F) teaches that bearing children out-of-wedlock is likely to have harmful consequences for the child, the child’s parents, and society;”
The common idea perpetuated through these standards is wedlock. The definition has less to do with defining a sexual education curriculum and more to do with outlining the sanctity of marriage.
Yet marriage is a creation born in religious institutions; historically used as a means of business exchange between men freely selling their daughters to the highest bidder. There’s really nothing publically sacred about the institution of marriage, especially given that our US Constitution clearly separates the role of Church and State. It is (unsurprisingly) hypocritical that the State forces Church ideas into public school curricula about sex education.
Once marriage is deemed the only appropriate reason for engaging in sex you’ve automatically stepped into a religious setting because of the context surrounding marriage—which cannot be ignored. It is a fact that marriage is not the only “standard of human sexual activity” and hasn’t been for…well…ever.
Sex exists outside of marriage and should be taught as such. Withholding information about sex from students is the perfect reason for them to go experiment on their own after class. Hello teen pregnancy, abortions, STIs, and non-consensual sex.
We live in the real world where 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused in childhood, 1 in 3 women will have an abortion, 25% of women will be sexually assaulted during their time on a college campus, 31% of college-aged men would rape a woman if they knew they could get away with it, over half of the estimated 19 million new STD cases each year occur in young people ages 15-24.
Students need real, accurate, complete sex-education to prepare them for the real world, situations, and choices they’ll be forced to make.
It’s about time the government decided to stop funding worthless, religiously-based, shaming sex-ed programs and started funding real solutions to decrease teen pregnancy.
Photos Credit Wikipedia