Abstaining from reality

A new Guttmacher Institute report on teen pregnancy is out. Guess who’s No. 2?

New Mexico had the highest teenage pregnancy rate (93 per 1,000), followed by Nevada,
Arizona, Texas and Mississippi. The lowest rates were in New Hampshire (33), Vermont, Maine,
Minnesota and North Dakota.

And we top another side of this list, too:

Teenage abortion rates were highest in New York (41 per 1,000), New Jersey, Nevada,
Delaware and Connecticut.

So all that abstinence-based sex-ed in schools… it’s (not) really working out, huh? We have to get real about sex ed and start giving our youth the tools and education they need to make informed decisions about their bodies and their futures!

The CCSD curriculum overview doesn’t shed much light on where exactly their priorities are, but this is the policy that guides the governing committee, which I sat in with once back in 2006. (My experience at that time was that they did not even want to mention homosexuality and certain members balked at line-drawing illustrations of penis-and-vagina intercourse.) In fact, I don’t know if much has changed since 2004, when students at one local high school couldn’t talk about HIV/AIDS on World AIDS Day.

No matter how you feel about teen pregnancy or teen abortions, I think we can all agree that teenagers getting and sharing sexually transmitted diseases is a matter of public health. Planned Parenthood has some good resources. It’s time to get real and give kids medically accurate sex education. That’s the best way to prevent abortions and unplanned pregnancies as well as STDs. Period.

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