Sexually transmitted disease and unexpected pregnancies are an increasing problem in America. Many public school systems have been working to mitigate these problems through the teaching of sexual education in school. However, many schools are still using an outdated and ineffective system known as abstinence-only programs. These abstinence programs are set on an unrealistic goal to stop everyone from having premarital sex. In addition, those who go through abstinence-only programs are put at greater risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and getting pregnant unintentionally. Abstinence-plus programs, which teach contraceptive uses in addition to abstinence, would greatly reduce the risk to those who have premarital sex while still discouraging it. Abstinence-plus programs are even developed better than abstinence-only programs in that they are more effective in discouraging student from having premarital sex. This efficiency may be why a majority of the American population is in support of the teachings of contraceptive uses.
A report by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy stated that seventy-four percent of adults believe that young people should learn about contraceptive uses in addition to the benefits of abstinence (Albert 7). So why do some schools still teach abstinence-only programs? It is clear that these abstinence-only programs are outdated and unwanted. In addition, it is common knowledge that many people will have premarital sex.
It is an unrealistic goal to believe that abstinence-only programs could stop premarital sex completely. According to a study published by Public Health reports, ninety-five percent of American men and women have had premarital sex (Finer 73). How do abstinence-only supporters propose to overcome such a vast majority of the population? People must accept the fact that premarital sex is a common behavior. It is absurd to believe that abstinence-only programs could change such a common practice. Furthermore, if abstinence-only programs cannot stop people from having premarital sex then school systems should teach contraceptive uses.
Even if the schools are able to get the students to pledge to be abstinent, there is still no guarantee that they will keep that promise. In an article by Dr. Janet Elis Rosenbaum in the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, she states that “[t]he sexual behavior of virginity pledgers does not differ from that of closely matched non-pledgers” (110). So even those that pledge to remain abstinent are engaging in premarital sex. This shows that even if students accept abstinence-only programs at first, there is still a likely chance that they will change their minds and have premarital sex anyway. In addition, abstinence-only programs may be hindering students in their ability to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases and unexpected pregnancies.
In her article, Dr. Rosenbaum also adds that “pledgers are less...