❝Back in 2002, the government funded a study that showed there was no evidence that abstinence programs increased a kid’s likelihood of abstaining from sex. In fact, no studies have found evidence that teaching abstinence works to prevent teenage pregnancies. And yet this year, the federal government will fund abstinence-only education to the tune of $85 million.
Last week, for the third year in a row, President Barack Obama’s budget proposal included cuts to some $10 million of that abstinence-only education funding…In 2010, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States took a poll and found that 88 percent of parents of junior high school students and 85 percent of parents of high school students believe information about how to use and where to get contraceptives is an appropriate topic for sexuality education. Even Obama’s first budget as president aimed to make similar cuts to abstinence education funding. GOP members of Congress fought it, and the attempt ultimately failed. The same happened in 2010 and is pretty likely to happen this time, too.
All this means that over the past two decades, more than $1.8 billion in federal dollars have been funneled into abstinence-only education…
❝Meanwhile, as the various wings of the government have been fighting over what dollars go where, teen pregnancy rates have plummeted to record lows over the past three years. What’s more, rates fell 51 percent between 1990 and 2010. The reasons for the decline are complicated and hard to pinpoint; some studies give credit to better contraception and more precise use of it.
But when it comes to American teens and sex, we still have a lot of problems to fix…From 2000 to 2014, the number of schools that required kids to learn about STD prevention dropped by 10 percent. To combat the rising rates of STDs and the lack of education, different states are taking different approaches…California passed a law last year that requires comprehensive sex education in schools for 2016. San Francisco schools are considering making condoms available to students as early as sixth grade. They would not be the first California schools to do so; Oakland Unified schools implemented a similar policy in 2014. On the opposite end of the spectrum, last year Texas took $3 million from its state budget for HIV and STD prevention and reallocated it to abstinence education.
I think the map up top clearly leads to a conclusion that states with the best record for education have the lowest birthrates. States that follow the lead of 19th Century minds get 19th Century results – or worse. Better educated teens will get up-to-date info even if they have to search it out online, via Planned Parenthood or elsewhere. That may put backwards adults into the dreamland of bunched-up knickers; but, the kids are all right and are learning to take care of themselves when parents and teachers follow the lead of pundits and preachers who are decades past their sell-by-date.