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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Suck on this!

Newsflash: Teenagers are having sex. Follow-up newsflash: Withholding information about sex does not make teenagers have sex less. What it does do is make that inevitable sex result in pregnancy much more often.

According to a Jan. 26 article in the Washington Post, “”The pregnancy rate among 15-to-19-year-olds increased 3 percent between 2005 and 2006.”” The survey also tracked abortions and miscarriages, so the results reflect how many unions between teen mothers and their partners resulted in pregnancy.

This rise in teen pregnancy and the various explanations for it come just one day after an edition of the dictionary was banned in Southern California elementary schools for including a definition of oral sex, according to The Press-Enterprise of Riverside, Calif.

It’s an interesting juxtaposition, and one that illustrates all that is wrong with the way parents and legislators consider sex and draft laws about it. As is obvious from these statistics, the abstinence-only education funded by the federal government with $1.5 billion since 1986 — according to the National Coalition Against Censorship — is not effective. Teens are having sex and getting pregnant at rates that are higher than ever. Limiting knowledge and information about sex is only resulting in more young girls becoming sexually active remaining unaware of the risks and methods of protection.

Parents like these overly-concerned room mothers in SoCal need to face reality: Teenagers who do not have information about sex still have sex. Not definining oral sex does not mean their precious little Madison will not have oral sex. In fact, she’ll probably have oral sex at an age much younger than they prefer even if she’s a virgin until she’s 30. For those parents to attach a social stigma and a punishment to a curious middle-schooler looking for information about sex is for those parents to say they’d rather have that kid totally clueless about their bodies and their options than than provide them with information that could lower their risk of pregnancy.

From movies on Lifetime to shows on MTV, teen pregnancy is everywhere — why is information about information for young potential parents (that is, all teens) not? Abundant scientific and anecdotal evidence proves that to make talking about sex punishable has tragic results. High-profile teen mom Bristol Palin is just one of the victims of this illogical and dangerous phenomenon: because of the culture of the purity pledge and purity ball, Palin is burdened with a young son at a less-than-ideal time in her life.

And yet all the politicians have learned from this huge new responsibility in this young girl’s life is to keep pounding the message into the sweet young schoolchildren and get the enlightened to keep their mouths shut. Though Palin originally said on Fox News that abstinence for teenagers is “”not realistic at all,”” in an appearance on Oprah last week she said she “”can guarantee”” that she will now remain abstinent until marriage. The young Palin feels she has to live up to the unrealistic picture the her mother’s political party has created, even though she has already been a victim of the culture of the all-hallowed virgin.

Instead of canonizing the idea of adolescents staying virgins until marriage, we should bring our children out of the dark ages. Sex education should include a complete and thorough consideration  of sex and the resultant issues — or, at the very least, a dictionary.

—Anna Swenson is a sophomore majoring in english whose main weapon is knowledge. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu

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