Let’s Talk About Sex

sex_ed_by_boundsparrow-smallA couple weeks ago, I wrote about how the economy is pushing people to be super-careful with the birth control. But it looks like it’s too late for the kiddies: After declining 34% over 14 years, the birth rate of babies born to teenage girls ages 15 to 19 jumped in both 2006 and 2007, according to a new report from the CDC.
Why? I’m sure there are lots of factors that contributed to this increase, but the one I’m most interested in is the proliferation of abstinence-only programs over the last 28 years. You read right; though these programs exploded (and were well-funded) under Dubbya, the first round of funding was signed into law by Reagan (and Clinton signed legislation in ’96). Now I’m not saying there’s only one way to teach kids about sex, but I do know that a policy like the current one that funds abstinence-only programs to the exclusion of more comprehensive programs is like the set up to a really bad joke: um…really bad.

And I’m not the only one. Several studies have proven that these programs do more harm than anything else. Kids who receive abstinence-only education are just as likely (and in some cases more likely) to have sex before the age of 16, and are less likely to protect their delicate bits when the time comes.

So what can we do about it? Several states have stopped applying for federal funds for abstinence-only programs, including Cali, New York and Ohio (which explains why I had a much-needed semester-long fifth grade sex-ed class at my Cleveland elementary school). If your state still takes the money and poorly educates teens in your area, let your governor know how you feel.

The biggest shift is expected to come with President Obama’s 2010 FY budget. Though we don’t yet have the line-by-line, an early summary from the National Women’s Law Center says that there will be a shift of funds toward evidence-based, medically accurate programming and the elimination of abstinence-only programs nationwide. Fingers crossed the Democrats have the balls to push it through Congress.

Did you have sex ed growing up? Was it a good experience, or a bad influence? Dígame.


Currently listening to: Let’s Talk About Sex

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