Talking About Birth Control

Overview of Approaches

March 4, 2018

When it comes to sex education, there are two predominant approaches:

Comprehensive Sex Education

While these programs promote abstinence, they also consist of instruction and teaching about available contraceptive procedures. These programs may also learn more about the context for and significance involved with sex, working from the assumption that many teens will become sexually active, and also include discussions about contraception, condom use, abortion, sexually transmitted diseases, and HIV.

Abstinence-Only Education 

These programs promote sexual abstinence and do not acknowledge that many teens will become sexually involved. Even though they include talks of morals, principles, character construction, and, sometimes,”how to say no” abilities, they don’t teach about contraception or condom use, nor comprise discussions concerning abortion, and usually pose the topics of STDs and HIV just as reasons why teens should stay abstinent.

Federal Funding for Gender Instruction:

Federal law doesn’t call for sex education in schools. However, Through the Years, Congress has established three programs (all of which are abstinence-only programs) that offer federal funding for sex education:

  • The Adolescent Family Life Act (AFLA)
  • Targeted abstinence-only financing through 1996 Welfare Reform legislation
  • The Special Projects of Regional and National Significance — Community-Based Abstinence Education (SPRANS-CBAE) grant program

    The 1996 Welfare Reform Act was signed into law by President Clinton. At the time, ultra-conservative legislators inserted an obscure policy add-on into this”must-pass” piece of legislation. This provision received little attention. Called the Abstinence-Only Curriculum Welfare Reform Act of 1996, it allocated $50 million annually (for five years) for nations to utilize toward abstinence-only programs.

    The laws also obliges that, among other items, these programs teach:

    • “A mutually faithful monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the expected standard of sexual activity.”
    • “Abstinence from sexual activity outside marriage as the expected standard for all school-age children.”
    • “Sexual activity outside the context of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects.”

    The Pro-Abstinence-Only Sex Instruction Movement:

    The Bush Administration pushed the pro-abstinence-only movement to a new level. As soon as President George Bush took office, he also established a new program — Community Based Abstinence Education grants. Throughout the Bush Administration, funding for abstinence-only schooling more than doubled, from $80 million in 2001 to $200 million in 2007. Bush promoted these programs although there wasn’t any evidence to conclude which abstinence-only curriculum represents the”typical” American’s wish for what should be taught in colleges or the real-life challenges confronted by the”average” American adolescent. In 2006, the teenage pregnancy rate rose for the first time in more than a decade — it rose by 3%. The adolescent abortion and birth rates rose as well.

    When President Obama came into office, he started to cut Title V abstinence-education funds from the national budget. At that time, 25 states had begun rejecting this money — 16 because they didn’t agree ideologically or weren’t seeing any positive outcomes from such abstinence-only programs.

    How States Are Regulating Sex Education:

    According to the Guttmacher Institute, most states have adopted laws regulating STD and sex instruction:

    • 20 states and the District of Columbia require that both sex education and HIV/STD schooling be provided.
    • 29 states and the District of Columbia mandate which, when provided, gender and HIV/STD education programs meet specific general requirements.
    • 33 states and the District of Columbia mandate HIV/STD education; of these states, 13 mandate just HIV/STD schooling.
    • When supplying sex education and/or HIV/STD education, 37 states and the District of Columbia insist that school districts notify parents (22), require parental consent (two ), or permit parents to remove their kids from schooling (35).

    Additionally, when sex education is being taught in college:

    • 37 states need abstinence information be supplied (26 states want it worried whereas 11 states simply demand it is covered).
    • 18 states and the District of Columbia require that birth control information is taught.
    • 12 states insist discussion of sexual orientation be included.
    • Sex schooling talks should include information about skills for preventing being pressured into having sex (20 states and DC); about making healthy decisions about sexuality (20 states); and education about how best to speak to family members, particularly parents, about gender (11 countries ).
    • 18 states require that instruction to incorporate the importance of participating in sexual activity only within marriage.
    • 13 states demand the inclusion of information on the negative outcomes of teen sex and pregnancy.
    • When HIV/STD education is provided: 20 states require advice on condoms or contraception, and 39 states require that abstinence is included.

    What the Research Says About Comprehensive Sex Education vs. Abstinence-Only Education:

    Studies have clearly demonstrated that comprehensive sexual education programs are the only ones which show results. Teens exposed to the sex education delay having sexual intercourse, generally have fewer sexual partners, and are more inclined to use birth control if having sexual intercourse. On the other hand, research has also shown the shortcomings of abstinence-only instruction. There has not been any evidence to show that these apps lower adolescent sexual activity; in actuality, teens subjected only to abstinence education are more likely to have misconceptions about condoms and condom use and therefore are just as likely as teenagers (who’ve had no sex education — maybe not abstinence-only) to have sex, have the exact same number of partners, and to have unprotected intercourse.

    Parent and Teen Thoughts on Sex Education:

    When polled by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, it seems that a huge percentage of teens (64 percent ) indicated that they desired more information about BOTH contraception and abstinence. 76% of parents had the exact same wish for their teens. Additionally, it seems that most parents embrace a frequent sense approach toward preventing early sexual activity and adolescent pregnancy. Most American parents certainly prefer their teen practice abstinence; they also believe that teens should understand that sex ought to be related to a purposeful and serious dedication. That having been said, many parents also realize that some adolescents will still choose to have sexual intercourse (even if abstinence is worried ). Because of this, a lot of parents also feel that teens should be provided information concerning the advantages and constraints of contraception as well as be educated where they can seek out proper health services.