The United States has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the developed world, and Texas is of the worst offenders. It’s no coincidence that, as a general rule, most Texas school districts have adopted abstinence-only educational programs that aren’t even medically accurate.
When our fabulously intelligent Governor Rick Perry was prompted to explain the discrepancy, his lovely response was “I’m gonna tell ya from my own personal life, abstinence works.” (You can watch him stumble and attempt to defend his stance here) Well… Texas has the fourth highest teen birth rate, the highest repeat teen birth rate and fourth highest HIV/AIDS rate. I’m thinking the lies and scare tactics they use to teach what they call “sex-ed” aren’t working.
For example, one district in Texas teaches that condoms fail 30% of the time (if that were true I’d know a lot more pregnant people!). Another district even compares using a condom during sex to wearing elbow pads while jumping off a bridge. I don’t know about you but sex sure as hell feels a lot better then falling to your death!
If that doesn’t horrify you, the curriculum Wonderful Days abstinence-only program uses the line “If a woman is dry, the sperm will die. If a woman is wet, a baby she may get!” So basically gentlemen, if you don’t want to get a girl pregnant make sure she has a really bad time.
I’m an active advocate for comprehensive sex-ed programs, and when talking to people I usually receive a positive response regardless of party affiliation. But, for some reason, when the issue gets to the legislature it becomes polarized. Those against the teaching of comprehensive sex-ed have this idea in their heads that by teaching teens to have safe sex we will essentially be teaching them how to do it. I hate to burst their bubble but teenagers are doing it anyway.
And these comprehensive sex-ed programs are just that, comprehensive, meaning they teach both safe sex and abstinence. And I know, many of you might say, “it’s up to the parents to teach, not the schools.” While that’s a great idea and I wish it were that easy, the reality is that a lot of parents aren’t doing the talking. And if that’s not enough to convince you, this issue does affect every single tax payer directly. Teaching sex-ed reduces unwanted pregnancies, which reduces the amount of people on welfare — which obviously affects your tax dollars. And this isn’t just an issue for Texas because Texas receives federal funds allocated for abstinence only education. So if there’s one issue that should cross party lines it should be educating students with a comprehensive sexual education program.
Carisa is a senior at the University of Texas majoring in government and is an intern for the Texas Freedom Network. The views expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of her employer. For more information on Politically Inclined’s policy on view attribution, please see our about page.