Two drastic Emergency Room cases were handled in 1998 at Mary Washington Hospital. Concerned mothers brought their 12 year old daughters into the hospital thinking they were suffering from severe stomach pain or even appendicitis…both girls were actually in labor (Abstinence, 2002). The United States has the highest teen pregnancy, birth, and abortion rates in the Western world (Planned Parenthood, 2003). Are teens getting enough knowledge on sex and how to prevent STDs and unwanted pregnancies? Another heartbreaking statistic is that teenagers have the highest rate of STDs of any age group, with one in four young people contracting an STD by the age of 21 (Sex-Ed Work, 2003). Is sex education really working in school? Or do we need to change the type of curricula that is taught? There is no question that sex education should be taught in schools, but the question is how? The purpose of this paper is to determine which curricula of sex education should be taught in schools to be most effective in lowering STD and pregnancy rates among teenagers.
The first type of curricula is abstinence-only. Abstinence-only based curricula is taught to more than 50 percent of students worldwide (Sex in Review, 2003). Abstinence programs teach teens how to say no. It does not teach them about STDs and how to protect themselves, therefore keeping them in the dark about sex. This type of curricula typically uses fear and shame to encourage premarital abstinence. It usually provides a distorted view of sex and can lead to sexual anxiety. Students are taught misinformation and lies; You will learn that sex is horrible unless it takes place in a monogamous marriage. President Bush asked Congress for a thirty-three percent increase in funding for abstinence-only programs, which forbid teachers to talk about how contraception works or where to get it (Planned Parenthood, 2003). Abstinence-only programs have not proven to be effective in reducing sexual activity, sexual partners, or STDs. So why ask for a raise for a program that hasn’t really proven to help keep teens safe? The main idea of Abstinence-only programs is simple…”Do it and Die.” Is sex really that bad if done safely?
Comprehensive sexuality education give teenagers the nine-yards on sexuality. Teens are taught everything from condom use, birth control use, and where to get it. In some cases teens are taught about homosexuality, heterosexuality, and abortions. Instead of teaching the negative side of sex it teaches teens that sex is a healthy, normal part of life. You learn the advantages of abstinence, but for teens who want to get involved or have already been in sexual relationships they learn how to protect themselves. Studies show that balanced programs that promote both abstinence and safer sex are most effective and allow young people to make responsible choices. In a review of 35 programs, the World Health Organization found that abstinence-only...