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Teen Pregnancy

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Did you know that the city of Lubbock is the fifth highest percentage of teen pregnancy in the country? Did you know that Texas has the highest percentage of teen pregnancy in the entire nation? I live in both Lubbock County and the state of Texas and I did not know any of these statistics. I thought, like many others, that the sex education programs were working. It is advertised in the local media that, "abstinence only programs work because if they did not work the government would not federally fund abstinence only programs in public schools." That is obviously not the case! If abstinence only programs are not workingÐ'...why not try safe sex programs? Many mothers, fathers, grandparents, or legal guardians do not like the idea of safe sex or abstinence being taught to their young sons or daughters. I understand the reasoning behind that decision but the fact is, over half of parents are not willing to take on that role of teaching safe sex or abstinence and are leaving that job to schools; therefore, it is now a debate in every school district of whether it is smarter to teach safe sex or abstinence. I think because teen pregnancy is such a huge issue today, safe sex should be taught. There are many reasons for and against safe sex programs but in the end the pros outweigh the cons but it is up to the parent to make the best decision for their child.

I went to a school right outside Lubbock Independent School District, where abstinence only is taught, and was taught about safe sex. My high school did not have a pregnancy rate and I believe it is because of our program. Our professors taught us everything there was to be taught scientifically about sex. The school had young adult come in and talk about their experience with teen pregnancy, sexual transmitted disease, staying abstinence and engaging in a sexual relationship at a young age. All of the speaker's testimonies were unbelievably impacting. I still remember every word. When the psychologist in sexual relation came to speak and the talk to my class about certain feeling and thoughts and questions that might be going through our minds I felt relieved that I was normal and not ashamed or different. For personal experience, the safe sex program worked

It has been said that, "Abstinence only education is one of the religious right's greatest victories (McCormick p.2)." I truly believe this statement to be true. I have recently sat in on a classroom lecture where abstinence was being taught. It was unbelievably different from what I was taught. I was not expecting such a dramatic difference but there was. I noticed that the instructor used much of his religious beliefs to help guide them. The instructor repeatedly said that, "It is such a sin to have premarital sexÐ' the best way to stay sin free, disease free, and child free is to not have premarital sex." Although I do agree with him, I do not agree with that method of teaching harmonious teenagers about sex. I think teenagers need to be taught all aspects of sex and having a sexual relationship. They need to be taught what happens to the body when they start going through the stages of sex and most importantly the downside to sex such as rape, teen pregnancy, and sexual transmitted diseases. It is important to know all of this because it can help a student make an honest and educational decision about having sex. I know from personal experience that the facts that I learned about sex and having a sexual relationship was the reason I stayed abstinent.

The problems with abstinence only programs are that school boards are censoring textbooks. The school board district in Franklin County, North Carolina, ordered three chapters of a health book used in a sex education class to be banished from the text book because the readings did not adhere to state mandating abstinence only education programs. The chapters that were sliced from the book were topics over AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, marriages and partnering, and contraception (Grumman p.35). That is outrageous to me because I want to know how do schools expect students to learn about sex and disease and ways to protect themselves from pregnancy and diseases? It is a fact that over forty five percent of high school students have been sexually active by the time they graduate from high school and over half of those students contract an STD or become pregnant before the age of eight-teen. Why would a school district band ways to eliminate those climbing numbers of people infected with a sexually transmitted disease or birth to teen girls between the age of fifteen to nineteen? Do they not know they would be saving lives? I do not understand.

Another major problem with safe sex programs is that students suffer from ignorance. Many students are very ignorant of information concerning their own bodies. A student in Granite Bay asked where his cervix was and another student asked if she could get pregnant by oral sex. The teacher was only allowed to answer with a, "No, you can not become pregnant by oral sex." The teacher should have explained to the student that there is only one way of becoming pregnant and then gone on to say," Let's talk about why any type of sex is not good (Eade)." It is obvious that the student did not know very much about sex because she had not been taught. The teacher was not able to tell her in addition to her "No" that there is something you can get from oral sex and that is an STD. That teacher will never know if those students, who knew so little about sex and their bodies, will know to wear a condom when they do have sex. That teacher will never know if those students will know that you can contract STDs from other sexual actions other than sexual intercourse and oral sex. That is extremely sad to me because there are millions of other students just like that all around the country and world. It has been proven that students who do not learn all the "fundamentals" of sex are less like to use a condom when having sex. Meanwhile, students from safe sex programs are ten times more likely to use contraceptives and condoms, consistently.

Europe and the state of New Jersey have shown the greatest advantage of why safe sex programs work. Instead of condemning contraceptives, homosexuality, and abortion, they tell teenagers that sex is part of being a human and growing up(McCormick). They teach that when student feel they are ready to engage in a sexual relationship, they do have access to and should take advantage of the contraceptives and condoms. Because teenagers have access to such products, New Jersey has one f the lowest teen pregnancy rates and Europe has two times less of a teen pregnancy rate and ten times less of a teen STD rate. I think these numbers are proof that safe sex programs



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