Renew the U.S. Commitment to Sexual EducationPosted: May 26, 2015
Over the course of the last 20 years advocacy and advancement in terms of sex education have increased in the United States, however, teen birth rates and rates of STIs are still amongst the highest worldwide. Recent research reveals the federally funded focus on abstinence and “just say no” programs have not proven to be an effective way of preventing unintended pregnancies and STIs. Instead of focusing on abstinence-only education and targeting individual’s actions through the force of law, we must focus on providing knowledge through evidenced-based education, giving individuals the opportunity to make smart and responsible decisions.
The decades-long call to provide comprehensive sex education, not only to prevent unintended pregnancies or the spread of STIs, but to enable individuals to be more knowledgeable about themselves and their bodies highlights an important idea that sexual health is a fundamental part of all life. By inhibiting individuals from truly understanding what sexual health means and strictly providing only one course to follow (i.e. abstinence-only-until-marriage), we are blatantly labeling each person’s sexual health as a black and white situation with one right answer. Each person comes from different family situations, different socioeconomic statuses, and different life experiences. Evidence-based comprehensive sex education is the most universal and fair way to provide the best care and sexual health. It provides options and enables individuals to know each perspective and make the best choice specific to their situation.