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Critics Push to End Abstinence-Only Sex Education

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Associated Press: With the exit of the Bush administration, critics of abstinence-only sex education will be making an aggressive push to cut off federal funding for what they consider an ineffective, sometimes harmful program.

How quickly and completely they reach their goal is uncertain, however, as conservative supporters of abstinence education lobby Congress and President-elect Barack Obama to preserve at least some of the funding, which now totals $176 million a year.

And even if federal funding is halted, some states -- such as Georgia -- are determined to keep abstinence programs going on their own, ensuring that this front in the culture wars will remain active.

Obama is considered an advocate of comprehensive sex education, which -- unlike abstinence-only curriculum -- includes advice to young people about using contraceptives if they do engage in sexual activity. However, Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor declined to elaborate on what the new president would propose in his own budget plan.

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8 comments so far | Post a comment now
Natalie January 19, 2009, 10:18 AM

It’s about time! Abstinence only education is horrible, and doesn’t teach kids what ACTUALLY happens if you decide to have sex. It doesn’t teach them how to protect themselves.

Anon January 19, 2009, 10:38 AM

Many parents seem to think by avoiding the Sex Talk with their tween, then they will keep them from having sex. That is not how it works. Education is the way to keep them from having it. The more they know about STD’s and protection the more likely they will NOT have sex until they are older.

Kirstie January 19, 2009, 11:16 AM

You know, I got a pretty liberal sex education. One picture of a baby born with genital warts was enough for me! Ugh. I chose not to have sex until I was in a steady, monogamous relationship (not marriage, though - I am 19 still) and I’m sure that played a part .. but a good portion of my high school still slept around and quite a few got knocked up. We had a girl who was literally due two days after our graduation ceremony - and she still walked. More power to her, honestly .. get the diploma now!

But I guess with 800 kids in a grade they couldn’t except perfect results,lol!

Marie January 19, 2009, 11:53 AM

I am with Kirstie. We saw some movies in our sex ed classes that made me swear off boys for years!

The funny thing is there were two girls whose parents refused to allow them in the class .. and chose an “opt out”. Guess who got pregnant while still in school?

Wendi January 19, 2009, 11:57 AM

Hmm…maybe the PARENTS should step in and teach their kids about sex. It should not be left up to the school in the first place. This is part of parenting parents need to do the job, not the teachers. And leaving it up to someone else to teach to your kid leaves it open for them to put their feelings in it. Teaching about condoms and such should not be done in school. I am totally against it!!

anna January 19, 2009, 2:28 PM

Love the photo here, with the completely oblivious boy and the doting girl. That alone says something to me.

I agree with Wendi that it should be the parents’ responsibility to teach about condoms and STDs, but if they’re going to do sex ed in school, it should have the necessary information and not just be a sugarcoated bunch of fluff. If I want cotton candy I’ll go to the circus. When I wanted sex ed, I went to the internet, but at least I got the information I needed. My high school was crap for it. Probably why I’m one of about eight people in my class finishing college without a pregnancy.

Joyce January 20, 2009, 12:21 AM

Sex Ed should be taught by the parents- Absolutely. Most of the time it doesn’t. My sex ed came to me by my aunt after I had sex for the first time….”I know it feels good, don’t do it again.” Fortunately, I knew how to stop pregnancies. Sex Ed should start at a younger age than it does. Some girls are starting the menses at 10. Some boys testosterone is starting around that age, too. But sex ed should, also, be taught with self respect and self love. Kids who are taught to love themselves generally don’t fall into the “if you loved me then you would have sex with me.”
Abstinance only education does not work. It has never worked. The teenage pregnancy increased (from the decline) again when abstinence only education came into effect.

Becca February 24, 2009, 4:10 PM

Okay, yes it would be ideal if all parents did “the sex talk”. However not all parents do, so schools step in to educate the kids. In my school district we had a very informative sex ed class in the fifth grade. In eighth grade was another sex ed class where we learned extensively about birth control. Then it was taught again in ninth and tenth grade. Teen prenancy was virtually non-existant in my highschool. Not to say kids weren’t having sex, because they were. But by then everybody knew what to do in order to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. I don’t think “abstinence only” sex classes work. It teaches ignorance, rather than the facts-of-life kids obviously need to know.

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