Much of the South and Southwest was particularly slow in this respect. While it's a very good sign that teen birth and pregnancy rates have dropped to an all-time low in America, states like Texas continue to serve as examples of the problematic consequences of misguided abstinence-only education. Anderson M, How having smartphones or not shapes the way teens communicate, Pew Research Center, , http: Schools are expected to include discussions about pregnancy, STIs, sexual orientation and homophobia, values, respect for difference and skills for healthy relationships in their curriculum.
American Academy of Pediatrics, According to the United Nations, all young people have the right to information about sexuality. Teenagers must develop skills in communication and sexual decision making so that sex does not just "happen. Here Yvonne Ivanesc, a freelance journalist, writes about our Chilean partner, APROFA, which is working to increase young people's access to sexual and reproductive health information by offering informational workshops. To understand the effectiveness of different approaches to sex ed, a study compared sexual health outcomes for young people in Australia and the Netherlands, where comprehensive sexuality education is taught, and the United States, where abstinence-only education was taught in some states. Sexuality is a normal, healthy part of life. Conservative groups have long advocated abstinence education in public schools, pointing to a smaller number of studies that support abstinence-based approaches. Declines in Birth Control Education Source: It is common for schools in Chile to promote abstinence instead of teaching comprehensive sexuality education. Only 69 percent of school districts in the United States teach sex education. An increased focus on and funding for them began as part of welfare reform efforts undertaken during the Clinton administration. Schools are expected to include discussions about pregnancy, STIs, sexual orientation and homophobia, values, respect for difference and skills for healthy relationships in their curriculum. Most teenagers are staggeringly unprepared to raise a child, and those who do manage still face a number of unique health problems and risks that can affect both mother and child and could potentially last for years. Are you ready to hear and respond? Promoting abstinence until marriage as the only legitimate option for young people "violates medical ethics and harms young people," Lindberg says, because such programs generally withhold information about pregnancy and STD prevention and overstate the risk of contraceptive failure. Many of these programs have resulted in delayed sexual debut, reduced frequency of sex and number of sexual partners, increased condom or contraceptive use, or reduced sexual risk-taking. In the absence of age-appropriate, accurate information, even very young children make up stories to fill the void. Young mothers are a highly stigmatized group in Chilean society, and as a result, they face significant barriers to continuing their education and finding work. Eisenberg ME et al. This type of instruction is a central source of information for adolescents. Guse K et al. States with abstinence-only education have the highest rates of teen pregnancies. Relationships in which people choose to engage in sexual behaviour are not on the curriculum; much less information about pleasure or that using contraception can prevent unplanned pregnancies. Breuner CC et al. Will they tell you? When American teens do begin having sex, they may fail to use condoms or other forms of contraception, unlike their peers in other countries who have routine access to contraceptive education and counseling, the report suggests.
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