What is abstinence-only education? This educational practice is the teaching of abstinence or the refraining of sex until it is within the bounds of marriage. This practice also avoids or limits the discussions of reproductive health, contraceptives and safe sex practices. When these subjects are discussed in an abstinence only education only the failure rates of contraceptives are discussed and it limits the discussions on sexual health for fear that it encourages premarital sex in teens.
With the idea of abstinence only education we are left to wonder what this means for same-sex couples who cannot get married or young people who do not wish to get married for whatever reason. Just the idea of abstinence only education excludes these people. We are also left to wonder how teens will be educated on STD’s, Birth Control, Contraceptives and Safe Sex practices.
Abstinence should be preached and practiced however it has no place excluding the information that is needed when it comes to sexual education. Studies have not proven either side of the argument however the billion dollar federal funds given between 1996 and 2006 to abstinence only educating officials has made a prominent impact on the United States.
Abstinence educators perpetuate that this type of education will decrease the teen pregnancy rate. However a 2007 study ordered by Congress found that following middle school students between the ages of 12 and 16 who were involved in abstinence only education programs compared to a control group of teens the same age that were not involve in abstinence education were just as likely to have sex. During this 7 year study it was also found that these students had the same amount of partners and had sex for the first time around the same age. Contraception use was found also on both sides of the study. Advocates of the abstinence programs say that the study is flawed because it was when the programs were in their infancy. Source: Impacts of Four Title V, Section 510 Abstinence Only Education by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. April 2007.
Several associations have criticized abstinence only education believing that a comprehensive sexual education program is the only way to teach teens and be completely effective. Some of the criticizing associations include the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association, American Medical Association, American Public Health Association and many more.
Abstinence only education purports ignorance which will only lead to more unwanted pregnancies, a higher fatality rate and the spreading of infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS and other STD’s. There is absolutely no reason for this type of ignorant education.