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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Comprehensive sex education a must for teens

Education is not the problem, it is the solution.

As Mark Richmond, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s global coordinator for HIV and AIDS put it, “”in the absence of a vaccine for AIDS, education is the only vaccine we have.””  

According to the Advocates for Youth organization, researchers studied the National Survey of Family Growth to ascertain the effects of comprehensive sex education on people ages 15 to 19. The study found that those who received abstinence-only education were 50 percent more likely to become pregnant than those who received comprehensive sex education.

Moreover, by examining studies of prevention programs, researcher Douglas Kirby of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy found that 40 percent of prevention programs that incorporated methods other than abstitence-only “”delayed sexual initiation, reduced the number of sexual partners or increased condom or contraceptive use.””

Kirby also found that 30 percent of these programs lessened sex frequency and 60 percent reduced unprotected sex.

Fewer sexual partners, less frequent sex and increased condom usage bears striking resemblance to a little something I like to call “”success”” — and represents a regrettable misfortune for those not involved.

Despite the clear effectiveness of comprehensive sexual education programs, the federal government continues to invest billions of dollars into abstinence-only programs, which have been proven ineffective — yet another useless outlet for taxpayers’ money.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, a study by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. found that those who participated in abstinence-only programs were equally likely to have premarital sex starting at the same age and with the same number of sexual partners as those who did not.

Yet, since 1997 more than $1.5 billion has been invested in these ineffectual programs.

If the youth who participated in the abstinence-only programs choose to become sexually active anyway, they have an unfair disadvantage. The studies previously referenced show that those who participated in comprehensive sexual education programs were informed about contraceptives and consequences, and were armed with knowledge as to what to expect and how to prevent pregnancy and STI’s.

According to the ACLU, a congressional report found that more than 80 percent of curricula for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs contained “”false, misleading, or distorted information about reproductive health.””

Among these inaccuracies is false information regarding the effectiveness of condoms.

ACLU asserts that the Governor’s Program on Abstinence’s curriculum states that “”there is no clinical proof showing condom effectiveness,”” claiming that condoms “”are only about 80% effective at preventing pregnancy, which leave about a 1 in 5 chance of becoming pregnant (something like Russian roulette).””

Many reliable authorities contradict these statements.

According to Planned Parenthood, only two out of 100 women will become pregnant each year if condoms are consistently used correctly — Russian roulette, you say? Count me in.

Though the U.S. constitution guarantees the separation of church and state, some of the federally funded abstinence programs illegally promote religious activities. ACLU allegedly filed a lawsuit against the exceedingly religious Silver Ring Thing, a nationwide abstinence-only-until-marriage program.

The Silver Ring Thing’s mission is to flood the nation with a new generation of people who have taken the vow of abstinence until marriage. But according to a Silver Ring Thing’s newsletter, “”this mission can only be achieved by offering a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as the best way to live a sexually pure life.””

Luckily, ACLU has taken action forcing these specific fallacies to be corrected. But there are probably more out there misguiding youth into thinking there aren’t options and feeding them false information with taxpayer dollars.

Our money should be going toward causes that will help our youth and better their futures, not toward futile, religiously biased attempts to promote abstinence that render them ignorant and helpless.

It is only with comprehensive sexual education that unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections will decrease. In a nation where healthcare debates are raging, bereft of solutions, there’s simply no room for ignorance.

When it comes to sexually active college students, most probably believe that they are fully informed. That isn’t always the case. Even fierce Wildcats may be susceptible to sexual unawareness.

If you have any questions, there are two health centers affiliated with Planned Parenthood in Tucson: the Jean Hoffman Health Center which is located within four miles of campus at 529 W. Wetmore Rd., and the Margaret Sanger Health Center, at 2255 N. Wyatt Dr.

These centers provide abortion and birth control services, emergency contraception, general health care, HIV testing, HPV and hepatitis vaccines and much more.

Ignorance regarding safe sex is a crucial matter with an easy remedy: educate the youth and give America hope for an informed tomorrow.

 

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