The North Star

Schools miss the mark by teaching abstinence only


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It’s not hard to see our problem. Teen pregnancy. The U.S. has the highest teen pregnancy rate out of all of the developed countries.

About 2.7% of 15-19 year old women are pregnant in the United States. The runner up for this prestigious award is the United Kingdom sitting at 2.5%

This calls for the question “What are we doing to stop it?” Well in Nebraska’s case, not too much. Or the school boards are going about it the wrong way. Nebraska has a model that encourages abstinence heavily. This policy entails the basic idea of “Just don’t do it.”

“Abstinence is the best way to prevent pregnancy and STD’s.” This has been repeated on and on by various politicians supporting abstinence. Well yeah, that’s true but in the same way that not getting out of bed in the morning is the best way to prevent yourself from getting into a car accident. Studies have shown that some students will do it regardless of how many unenthusiastic gym teachers tell them not to.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 50% of teens engage in intercourse anyways, so why not teach them the safest way to do it?

Not only is abstinence a lazy way to teach children, it’s also seemingly ineffective. Studies have shown that with an increase in states adopting these policies there has also been an increase in those states teen pregnancy rates.

Nebraska has a sexual education policy similar to New Mexico with Human Growth not being required and abstinence focused. Unfortunately, New Mexico has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the United States. About 1 in 13 females between age 15-19 are pregnant there.

Vermont however, is doing it the way I’d think would work best, and their results are showing. They have the 49th lowest teen pregnancy rate. 1 in 31 female teens are pregnant there. They’re sexual education classes are required to teach them about contraceptives such as condoms, the pill, and the patch.

The most frightening of all of this information is that someone still thinks encouraging this abstinence policy is a good idea. In 2012, Nebraska received $250,930 to support abstinence only from the Title V Abstinence Education Grant. A government funded program.

“Who doesn’t know to use condoms?” That was the first thought that crossed my mind after hearing about the lack of teachings of them in some states. Well, the Department of Health and Human Services concluded that half of the teen males that got a female pregnant weren’t wearing a condom. It’s also been shown by the Center for Disease Control that the highest demographic of pregnant adolescents are teens with less education, so there’s obviously more to be learned.

At this point, there’s little to no justification for why these policies are ongoing anywhere. It’s been proven that states with more comprehensive views on Sex-Ed have the lowest teen pregnancy rates.
Overall, this is a problem that needs to be addressed. We are trying abstinence methods to fix it, but it’s been shown time and time again that there’s a better method out there. And we as a state are failing to adapt and help the thousands of women that aren’t being educated in these fields.

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The student news site of Omaha North High Magnet School
Schools miss the mark by teaching abstinence only