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With Abstinence-Only Sex Ed Failing Teens, Teens Fight Back

With Abstinence-Only Sex Ed Failing Teens, Teens Fight Back

We’ve known for years now that abstinence-only sex education has been ineffective, doing little to convince teens to wait longer to engage in sexual intercourse and virtually guaranteeing that when they do have sex, they don’t do it in safe ways that prevent pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease. In fact, the biggest success in many of these programs lately is to make teens feel ashamed of themselves.

One young woman in Canada, however, has decided she had enough. Faced with a mandatory class she had to take in order to graduate high school (one that allegedly told her that “most boys have HPV under their fingernails, gonorrhea can kill you in just three days, and girls need to dress modestly to avoid tempting boys,” according to Think Progress), Emily Dawson and her mother filed a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission.

Abstinence only sex ed classes and programs often use fear and shame, coupled with a hefty dose of sexism and girl-blaming to push its message for no sex ever outside of marriage. From telling students premarital sex will kill them to telling girls that if they aren’t virgins they are like used chewing gum. But the tactics have little positive effect on the teen sex rate, other than to leave an enormous number of teen girls so confused about their own bodies that many are claiming they are pregnant without ever even having sexual intercourse. When it fails, as it often does, the schools do all they can to close their eyes and pretend it didn’t happen.

Sometimes, however, you can’t simply hide the failures. Louisiana Rep. Bill Cassidy, who is running for the Senate seat against Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu., is a sponsor of the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act of 2013. He’s also nearly a grandfather, as his own 17-year-old daughter is due by the end of the summer. While Cassidy advocates mandating schools withhold sex ed until students are at least 12, and then only teach “the skills and benefits of sexual abstinence as the optimal sexual health behavior for youth; and.. the benefits of refraining from nonmarital sexual activity, the advantage of reserving sexual activity for marriage, and the foundational components of a healthy relationship,” comprehensive sex education could have potentially changed the life of his daughter, assuming that the pregnancy was unintended.

That’s the message from Lucy Flores, Nevada representative, who is currently running for lieutenant governor, shared when she told her own story of being pregnant at age 16. Flores obtained an abortion, something she feels no regrets over, and used that experience to advocate for comprehensive sex ed in schools during a contentious spring legislative session in 2013.

“I shared that story because I felt it was relevant to the importance of sex education in Nevada schools, and my belief that our children need to be armed with good information in order to make good choices,” Flores said in April of 2013, after emotional testimony at the capitol in Reno.

“I learned from the very little education that I received in school and again, through relationships that I had growing up,” testified Flores in support of comprehensive sex ed.”I had six other sisters, all of them became pregnant in their teens all of them,” Flores said. “One was 14 years old when she got pregnant with twins. That is what I had to learn from…Now in retrospect, if I could go back and be on birth control or better yet learn to fill my life with something else, other than having the attention of a man in the non-healthy relationship, I would have preferred to do that, if someone would have talked to me about it.”

We already know that denying teens and pre-teens accurate and age appropriate information regarding sex can lead to unwanted pregnancy and preventable sexual health issues. Now, thanks to one teen in Canada, inaccurate, sexist and medically and emotionally harmful abstinence only education is actually being called out for what it is — a potential human rights violation. Perhaps we can do the same here as well.

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141 comments

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6:59AM PDT on Aug 26, 2014

thanks

9:50PM PDT on Jul 24, 2014

(*sigh*) I should never have a battle of wits with an unarmed person....

11:47AM PDT on Jul 24, 2014

John S
“other than the fact that a recent studies by the U.K.’s largest abortion provider revealed that fully two-thirds of women who sought to abort unwanted infants”

uh, John, one cannot abort an infant, as an infant has already exited the birth canal, can be held, and wears diapers.

Infant;
[[ http://www.babycenter.com/101_50-amazing-newborn-photos_10339388.bc

fetus
http://www.babycenter.com/fetal-development-images-4-weeks

[[[http://www.babymed.com/conception/implantation

Implantation is an important part of the pregnancy process. Without implantation you cannot get pregnant and have a baby. -
Knowledge is power.

In this quiz you can find out how much you know about implantation and improve your chances getting pregnant.

http://www.babymed.com/conception/implantation#sthash.KI0ngxQe.dpuf]]]
I scored 100% on the test how bout the rest of you? Especially you “know-it-ll” anti-choice folks.]]]

9:45AM PDT on Jul 24, 2014

Darryll's reply sent to my private mail:

"That's what i've been saying all along, you can't teach only half the equasion, which they have been doing." - Darryll G

But Daryll...It has to be emphasized that relying on abstinence doesn't work...especially for hormonally overwhelmed teens. It has to be taught that relying on abstinence often results in a pregnancy.

No lies there as you claim...it's the absolute truth.


9:40AM PDT on Jul 24, 2014

Teaching abstinencce only simply does not work!!! They aready KNOW if they don't have sex they wont get pregnant. Teens are smart enough to know that…….they have simply rejected that as a solution. Your not liking that is meaningless to teens loll

8:09AM PDT on Jul 24, 2014

Judie- what do you think i have been saying, but they also need to teach them that birth control and condoms aren't 100% effective and that is also being taught and abstinence only is not taught at all schools

Original Message:
-----------------
Hello,

Judie left a comment on the following article:
With Abstinence-Only Sex Ed Failing Teens, Teens Fight Back
Darrell G., the "lie" they're being told now is that abstinence-only education works. Studies have proven that teaching abstinence-only does NOT work. The ONLY way to reduce unwanted pregnancies is to teach full, comprehensive sex education with ALL options available. It should be incorporated into the educational program from about the third or fourth grade, on, and should become more detailed as the child matures, both physically and emotionally.

5:58AM PDT on Jul 24, 2014

Darrell...you are discounting the hormone factor, which is at its peak during the teen years. Kids may learn about abstinence, and even accept it in theory, but sexual urges can over-ride intelligence (at all ages).

As Judie B just said, ALL options should be taught and should be available. And yes, all options does include abstinence.

And if you answer using a private message, I will post your answer on this thread.

9:59PM PDT on Jul 23, 2014

Darrell G., the "lie" they're being told now is that abstinence-only education works. Studies have proven that teaching abstinence-only does NOT work. The ONLY way to reduce unwanted pregnancies is to teach full, comprehensive sex education with ALL options available. It should be incorporated into the educational program from about the third or fourth grade, on, and should become more detailed as the child matures, both physically and emotionally.

10:27AM PDT on Jul 23, 2014

ty for this important article

1:30PM PDT on Jul 19, 2014

Judie-IF you teach them the truth about birth control and condoms AND THE FACT THAT they don't stop pregnancies or stds 100% and show them why abstinence will work, you will cut down on children having children, no it's not 100% but it's better than the lie their being told now

Original Message:
-----------------
Hello,

Judie left a comment on the following article:
With Abstinence-Only Sex Ed Failing Teens, Teens Fight Back
Darryll G., IF you teach teens that only truly safe sex is abstinence from sex until they establish a monogamous relationship, they will be protected from sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy, you MIGHT get one out of a hundred to give you the courtesy of appearing to listen. The likelihood, with their raging hormones, that they'll take it into account and decide that abstinence, until a monogamous relationship is established, is the only way to go is probably about the same as a Republican voting to increase taxes for the wealthy, increase funding for welfare and school lunch programs, and vociferously proclaiming that the ACA is the best thing since sliced bread. I stand by my convictions.

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