What Young Adults Need to Learn Comprehensive Sex Education in School
A young girl named Jessie Gill discovered she was pregnant at fifteen. While having sex with her boyfriend, condom broke. Unaware of the proper use of contraception and safe sex, the young fifteen year old girl went on with her life; school, church, and enjoying time with her friends. Until her she failed a pregnancy test. After word got out, her church group would gossip. Mothers would throw accusations her way. The rest of her teenage years were not sweet. Prom dresses were traded for maternity clothes, her hopes of college left her.
She was ashamed of herself. As a result she enrolled in homeschooling, As time went on, she saw her friends hanging out while she was alone. Although she had much love and support from her parents, times were hard. She wanted to keep her child, and she did. After she gave birth her parents helped her with the child and the baby’s father paid child support. Jessie had somewhat of a happy ending, but often times, similar stories don’t always turn out as lucky as hers did.
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Could Jessie’s story turned out differently? The answer is yes. So where was her error? She and her boyfriend did not use their form of protection correctly, even if the condom broke there is always another option known as Plan B. Jessie didn’t use the morning after pill because she was never taught about the proper use of contraceptives and safe sex. There are many stories just like Jessie’s. Teenage pregnancy rates and abortion have gone up as a result of adolescents not having knowledge about sex. According to Jules Suzdaltsev, most states are required to teach abstinence only; which tends not to be very explicit. At most students are taught how to put a condom on and that the best way to prevent unwanted pregnancy and STDs is to stay abstinent.
If adolescents were more knowledgeable of sex there would be lower rates of pregnancy, abortion, and sexually transmitted diseases. Schools should be required to teach comprehensive sex education instead of abstinence only.
The debate is whether abstinence-only versus comprehensive sex education should be taught to youth. In an article written by Stanger-Hall, Kathrin F. and David W. Hall on Abstinence- Only Education and Teen Pregnancy Rates it states that the U.S. government and many parents believe that, “sex education that covers safe sexual practices, such as condom use, sends a mixed message to students and promotes sexual activity.” As this may be true, would we rather adolescents having safe sex at a younger age or have unsafe sex and run the risk of contracting a STD or becoming pregnant? Do parents truly believe that their children learning about abstinence only until marriage won’t engage in any sexual activities until they’re marry? Most adolescents merely pretend they won’t; but no one is going to stop them from making these decisions.
Abstinence-only sex education promotes no sex before marriage, therefore it’s likely not to cover any form of contraception. Taylor Bell states among 18 and 19-year-olds, 41 percent know little or nothing about condoms, and 45 percent say they know nothing about contraception. According to the Guttmacher Institute, one-third of American kids ages 15 to 19 weren’t taught anything about contraceptives in school.
Meanwhile, states that teach abstinence-only have the highest teen pregnancy rates. In total, twenty-two states require abstinence-only sex education in public schools–the other twenty-three states teach it according to government standards– while most European countries make sex education mandatory. For example, Denmark’s sex education system has been successful in preventing unwanted pregnancies and promoting safe sex practices. One reason why the U.S. supports less comprehensive sex education could be because of parents. The National Abstinence Education Association states that 90 percent of parents believe that teaching no sex until marriage was the best for their child’s future.
Another survey found that 59 percent of parents believed that government funding should support abstinence sex education over comprehensive sex education. Funding for these abstinence-only education programs are proving to be ineffective due to the fact that the U.S. is the highest rated for STDs and teenage pregnancies among all industrialized countries according to Guttmacher Institute. The main goal of these government funded programs is to delay sexual activity until marriage. Because of these programs regulations, they cannot include information on contraception and safersex practices.
Another reason parents are against comprehensive sex education is the psychological effect it can have on our youth. According to Kirk Johnson from The Heritage Foundation, “when compared to teens who are not sexually active, teenage boys and girls who are sexually active are significantly less likely to be happy, more likely to feel depressed, and more likely to commit suicide.”
If comprehensive sex education was taught instead of abstinence-only pregnancy, STDs, and abortion rates would be significantly lower. In Germany, France and the Netherlands comprehensive sex education is taught to the youth and as a result have lower rates in teen pregnancies, teen births, abortions, as well as STDs and AIDs.
These countries also have the highest rates of contraception use. The United States pregnancy rate is almost three times that of Germany and France, and over four times in the netherlands according to Sue Alford in “Adolescent Sexual Health in Europe and the U.S.” She also states that the teen birth rate is nearly eight times higher than the Netherlands, five times higher than France, and four times higher than Germany’s. As far as abortion rates go , according to Alford, the U.S. teen abortion rates is twice as high as Germany and almost twice as high s the Netherlands.
Sexual transmitted diseses are six times greater than Germany, three times greater than the Netherlands, and almost twice as France. Meanwhile the U.S. has the lowest rates for condom use among both males and females and the lowest rates of the use of birth control. If adolescents were educated and more knowledgeable on safer sex practices these rates would be lower. Our schools need to education students on being more responsible when it comes to sex and to always use some form of contraception.