Because Abstinence Only Didn't Work

Sat, 08/31/2013 - 09:53
Submitted by Carlin Ross

I grew up during the "abstinence-only" era of sex education in this country. Several of my friends were teen moms and I would have joined their ranks if I didn't exercise my right to choose.

Around 2010 the government had a crazy idea: they would fund evidence-based sex ed and see if the teen birth rate decreased. Sarah Mirk describes the results:

"Instead of betting all its money on abstinence-only education, since 2010, reproductive health advocates pushed federal policy to instead favor “evidence-based” teen pregnancy prevention programs—meaning rigorous research has shown they’re actually effective. Or, as Katy Suellentrop of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy puts it, “The biggest policy change in teen pregnancy was in 2010 when there was a focus on using programs that work.”

From 1998 to 2010, the federal government spent over a billion dollars on abstinence-only sex education. During that same time, the teen birth rates slowed, flat-lined, then actually began to increase in 2006, and then declined again. Now, the government sets aside $190 million to fund “evidence-based” teen pregnancy prevention programs like the ones working with Multnomah County’s Latino youth."

According to the CDC the birth rate for 15 to 19 year olds reached a record low of 31.3 per 1000 in 2011. Now we just have to add "body image" and "pleasure" to the curriculum and we would produce an entire generation of confident, empowered and happy people.

Editor in Chief & Keeper of All Things Betty Dodson

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