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Comprehensive Sexuality Education versus Abstinence-Only Education

The information below is a summary of an article taken from the The National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) Web Site. and has been reprinted here.

The article calls for a national commitment to Comprehensive Sexuality Education which educates teens about human sexuality with all the facts, including abstinence, but also teaches teens how to protect themselves if they do become sexually active. You can find the complete article
The Need for Comprehensive Sexualtiy Education which is very informative and a powerful argument for Comprehensive Sexuality Education.

The Need for Comprehensive Sexuality Education

Recent surveys have shown several positive trends concerning teenage sexual activity and contraceptive use. Statistics demonstrate a stabilization in teen sexual activity, a decline in teen pregnancy, and an increase in contraceptive use at first intercourse. Yet the U.S. continues to face an adolescent reproductive health crisis. The rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease (STD) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections remain unacceptably high.

In searching for solutions to this crisis, some individuals and groups have focused on abstinence-only education. But while abstinence education is an essential part of sexuality education, it should not be the only lesson taught. Sexuality education should also teach teens how to protect themselves if they do become sexually active.

Rather than focusing on abstinence-only education, the U.S. must demonstrate a national commitment to remedying this adolescent crisis through a multi-pronged approach. Such an approach would invest in the development of young women by valuing their lives, inspiring them to seek better futures, enhancing self-sufficiency, preparing them for higher education, providing job training and ensuring access to health care.

We need to embark on a campaign to increase family planning funding, improve and expand access to contraceptives, and increase awareness of and access to emergency contraceptives. Finally, we must launch a national effort to require comprehensive sexuality education throughout our primary and secondary schools. This approach would protect teens by promoting abstinence while simultaneously providing teens with the contraceptive and STD/HIV prevention information they need to make responsible decisions if and when they become sexually active.

Public Support for Sexuality Education

According to the article The Need for Comprehensive Sexualtiy Education
  • Eighty-two percent of Americans support sexuality education in schools
  • Another recent survey found that eighty-two percent of the adults believe that educating teens about contraception is very important. Eighty-seven percent believe STD prevention education is important.
  • A mere thirteen percent of adults believe that "teaching teenagers to abstain from sex until marriage is extremely realistic."
  • At least 115 national organizations support comprehensive sexuality education, including: American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Medical Association, American Public Health Association, National Education Association, National School Boards Association, and Society for Adolescent Medicine.
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