Why Abstinence Education Works
Abstinence education has been under fire the last few years so I wanted to take the time to explain why abstinence education works and why I believe it is the best option for our young people.
1. Doesn't Fail
This is a simple but essential point. If a child is taught abstinence and practices it, then they will not have to deal with many of the consequences such as teen pregnancy and STIs. Not to mention, the avoidance of emotional turmoil such as regret that many sexual active teens experience.
2. Raises the Standard
Some think that abstinence is an ideal and not an option that most teenagers will choose. But I simply believe much more in our children than that! We have to hold up a standard for our children and not lower it simply because we don't believe in their ability to make good choices. Will some not be able to resist temptation? Of course, but does that mean we should stop teaching the best option just because some don't choose it? Do we lower our standards in any other areas of their lives? Do we discourage college because some won't go, do we hand out clean needles because some might use drugs, do we stop teaching them to not drink and drive because some of them will make that choice? These ideas are ridiculous because we want the best for our children and that is what abstinence is for their sexual health.
3. Is Complete Truth
Our opponents prefer programs that call themselves "comprehensive sex education." But I believe our abstinence only program is more comprehensive than most of the ones that are called by that name. 180 Degrees teaches all the facts. We teach about STIs, pregnancy, emotional issues, the beauty of sex inside of marriage, AND contraception. No, we do not do condom demonstrations but we are clear about the benefits and limitations of contraception. Condoms are a BETTER choice if a teenager is going to have sex but it is not the BEST option. Why would we settle for teaching our children to reach for "better" when they can have the "best"? We must also consider the emotional impact of teen sexual activity. One thing that condoms don't protect is the heart. Thus, those who approve of contraception focused education, is not giving students the whole truth.
4. Encourages Healthy Relationships
180 Degrees strives to show students that abstinence is not about rules and regulations but rather about freedom to have wonderful healthy relationships and ultimately marriages. Sex should be something that is cherished and looked forward to in a marriage relationship. Why would parents or educators want any less for their children?
5. It is the Law
Currently in the state of Texas abstinence education is the required teaching curriculum.
6. Parents Agree
Most parents in the United States agree that abstinence education is what they want for their children. If parents and educators work together to provide a strong message of abstinence, we can make a difference! See research I also am a strong believer that abstinence education is best done in the home. 180 Degrees is only meant to be a reiteration of the parents' message. Thus, we encourage each of our students to have open communication about their sexual lives with their parents.
7. Teenagers Agree
Even teenagers can recognize what is best for them. They might not always want to tell you that face to face but they are pleading with adults for a positive message.
- Teens whose parents express disapproval of non-marital sex and contraceptive use are less likely than their peers to have sex. 57
- Nearly 9 out of 10 teens say it would be easier to avoid early sexual activity and teen pregnancy if they were able to have more open, honest conversations about these topics with their parents. 58
- 9 out of 10 teens think that adults should let teens know they should wait to have sex at least until they getout of high school. 59
8. Scientific Research
There have been quite a few studies in the media about the ineffectiveness of abstinence education especially with the new CDC report about the increased number of teen pregnancies. But one needs to make sure they have a full picture of the data before making assumptions. The same organization, Guttmacher Institute, that made the claims that the rise in teen pregnancies was due to the failure of abstinence education is the same organization that took credit for the 10 years of previous decrease in teen pregnancies.
So abstinence education cannot be to blame now that the numbers are increasing and not be awarded for the fact that they had been declining for that last decade. In addition, our culture and media has increasingly become more sexualized and that will also influence our children's sexual actions.
Our opponents are quick to point a finger when negative statistics surface but we must again look at the whole picture. Here are some resources for data that show abstinence education is having a positive and effective impact on teenagers and young adults.
Here are some resources for data that show abstinence education is having a positive and effective impact on teenagers and young adults.