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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Abstinence education not all bad

Abstinence education has abad rap.

Unrepentant opponents state the painfully obvious, which is that teenagers are having sex regardless of the abstinence message. These commentators argue that high school students should instead learn about contraceptive methods. Fair enough.

Then came the Feb. 2 Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine study, which states that abstinence-only education can persuade students to delay engaging in sexual activity.

“”This is a rigorous study that means we can now say that it’s possible for an abstinence-only intervention to be effective,”” said Dr. John B. Jemmott III, the University of Pennsylvania professor who led the study, in a Feb. 2 New York Times report.

Where’s the downside in that? Sure, students aren’t necessarily saving themselves until marriage as they’re instructed to do, but that isn’t exactly the greatest plan anyway. Kevin Jonas of the Jonas Brothers pop band told The Huffington Post that he was disappointed that he saved sex for marriage.

“”To be honest about it, sex was not worth the wait,”” Jonas said several days after tying the knot and consummating his marriage.

This choice works for some but not for the majority.

Regardless of this idea, students are most certainly smarter, safer and make more mature sexual decisions if they wait a couple of extra years to have sex.

Rather than giving herself away to the first boy who says he loves her, Susie High School instead waits until she goes away to college, where she’s out of her parent’s house and living on her own. That way, when she does experience sexual intercourse, she doesn’t have to sneak around her parents’ house and constantly worry about their unexpected arrival.

Though it’s important for teenagers to have information on pregnancy prevention and safe sex, they should also be exposed to the abstinence method, which is the only sure way to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. It would be irresponsible of schools not to teach or encourage abstinence in classrooms.

Commentators claim that abstinence-only education can actually be to a student’s detriment. If told only to abstain, students won’t go about having sex in a healthy or safe manner. Unplanned pregnancies will skyrocket, STDs will spread like the swine flu and nervous young women will have back-alley abortions.

Anyone who has unprotected sex as a result of not having enough information at his or her fingertips probably isn’t mature enough to have sex anyway.

It’s common knowledge that sex can result in pregnancy — especially unprotected sex. Most ten year olds know this, and they’re typically not able or old enough to engage in intercourse. If a child understands the consequences of sex, a high school student should, too.

If a student would like to have sex but feels he is not properly educated on the subject, he can do his own personal research on Google or even step into Planned Parenthood.

In the end, abstinence education isn’t at fault for every poor choice students make. If the program can influence youth to delay sexual activity, it can’t be the worst lesson plan students will ever encounter.

 

— Laura Donovan is a creative writing senior. She can be reached

at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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