Does Abstinence-Only Education Work?

By comparing California with Texas, it seems abstinence-only education doesn't work.

For many Mission Viejo students, today is the first day of school.

California public schools are not required to teach comprehensive sexual health education. But 96% of schools districts opt to do exactly that. The teen birth rate in California is at a record low, too.

But abstinence-only programs tend to be in place where the country's highest teen birth rates exist, such as Texas. In that state, the teen birth rate is the second-highest in the country.

Texas declined to take $4.4 million from the federal government for sexual education for teens. In Texas, 96% of school districts teach abstinence-only sex education and do not include prevention of sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy. According to the Huffington Post, "Teen pregnancy in Texas went up—higher than before 'abstinence only,' and more than 50 percent higher than the national average."

Despite evidence to the contrary, presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry seems confident that this policy continues to be the right choice.

The Moms Council lets readers know its opinions on the subject.

Wendy Bucknum says: I believe what message my teen needs to have on this subject should be left to Mom and Dad. It’s a shame that society today feels the need to do the education that should be left to a parent.

Paula Wallace says: Although I do not agree with sex before marriage ... I think the abstinence-only teaching is wrong! Kids are going to have sex regardless of beliefs of parents or anyone else. If you don't tell them/show them all the possibilities, they are left to figure them out on their own—and that is asking for trouble! They are teenagers. They are not capable of making good decisions yet (even if they think they are)!

Christine Atwood says: Morally, I believe that one should abstain from sex until one is in a long-term, monogamous relationship. However, to teach abstinence without also teaching teens some sort of birth control is irresponsible.  Those teens who are determined to have sex are going to, and I don't know one parent who would want their child pregnant in high school.

Look for Mom Talk every Wednesday at 1 p.m. for parenting topics, and get into the discussion.

Dan Avery September 10, 2011 at 06:24 AM
Rebecca I completely understand you position and it sounds enlightened. I get wanting to be the one to talk to your kids about issues like sex. Unfortunately a large portion of our society doesn't want to do that for their kids. Not in an open and honest way. And, let's face it, since the mid-1980's and AIDS sex is deadly. That is no joke. And children, after they hit 14 years-old or so want to be adults. They are in the rush to grow up. They want to try everything. And some parents do want to pretend that sex and drugs and whatnot aren't out there. I guess they think they can shield their kids, but they are really sticking a gun barrel in their kid's mouth. That is why the school should educate. You, your kids, are not the problem. But you're more enlightened than most evidently.
Julie Flores September 10, 2011 at 05:04 PM
Thanks Dan! The truth is that I am just stumbling through motherhood just like everyone else. But we decided that we would always tell our kids the truth. No matter how difficult or uncomfortable it can be in the moment, and there have been some doozies! When my daughter went to private school they asked parents to sign a release for the sex education classes. My daughter handed me the slip, slammed the car door and said, "I don't want to go to this, just tell me right now. What is sex, just tell me right now!" Gulp! I wasn't prepared to discuss it on that particular day but this is the most obstinate child that you will ever come across. She looked at me and smiled. "Wow, you are embarrassed aren't you?" How the hell can a 4th grader be so intuitive? "Well, yes I am but I will tell you anyway." Then I went home and had a glass of wine.
Dan Avery September 10, 2011 at 05:55 PM
Wow, 4th grade? I was still trying to figure out how to properly tighten my roller skates with a skate key in the 4th grade. Sex wasn't any where near the radar screen until the 8th grade. By then I figured I'd always be hopeless with the skate key and I started looking into other, more pleasant ways to skin my knees.
Panglonymous September 11, 2011 at 06:48 AM
You can get extra pr0ns at the Sizzler if you know which waitress to ask.
Dan Avery September 11, 2011 at 06:40 PM
I had some prons in Phuket that were the size of what we call lobsters on the West Coast of the U.S.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »