Thursday, November 19, 2009

The System Works: Abstinence-Only Sex Education Doesn't Survive the Test of Reality

When welfare reform was passed in 1996, Pres. Clinton compromised to get conservative votes by including funding for abstinence-only sex education programs in schools. As Sarah Kliff shows in the October 27th Newsweek, abstinence-only programs have now fallen on hard times.

This strikes me as an illustration that our government is not broken, but actually works pretty well. Both welfare reform and abstinence-only education became law by the normal kind of political compromise. More than a decade later, we are continuing welfare reform because it works. And we are discontinuing abstinence-only sex education because it doesn't work.

11 comments:

shep said...

Let's throw condoms at junior high student like they are dogs in heat.

VA said...

It's unrealistic to think that students who get bad or incomplete information about sexual health in school will magically grow up to be conscientious about their sexual health as adults; a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Parents can and should teach their values about sex at home, but schools have a responsibility to teach accurate and age-appropriate sex ed.

Mary Jo said...

They need information. You wouldn't believe the questions my high-school students are asking me...and I don't even teach health...

syles said...

I don't want Mary Jo answering my children's sex questions! I suggest she stick to teaching the subject matter she was hired to teach. But that's just me.

MissTammy said...

I agree abstinence education doesn't work, but what I have never understood is how they can claim ANY kind of sex education works when teens keep getting pregnant?

Gruntled said...

No method of sex education prevents pregnancy completely. They don't even have to, really. Pregnancy is not a bad thing - in fact, it is one of the very best things - but it does need a supportive context. When married teens get pregnant, that is not really such a bad thing.

VA said...

Syles, that's why schools have a responsibility to offer adequate sex ed - students who aren't getting the information they need/want in health class will turn to other teachers, the internet, or their equally misinformed peers.

Roderick said...

Gruntled said...
When married teens get pregnant, that is not really such a bad thing.

Please tell me that you're joking.

Maybe married teens could have survived and thrived when America was an agrarian economy but I doubt a married couple with both parents working would be able to earn more than minimum wage and unless one of them had a wealthy parent to help support them and their offspring it would not be a good situation.

Mary Jo said...

Hey, I don't want to answer these questions either, trust me. I'd much rather stick to my planned lessons. I just said they're asking me, which is proof they don't have the information they need.

Gruntled said...

Roderick:

There is nothing wrong with teen parents as such. If they have finished school, have a job, and are married, their chances of success are actually not bad. Successful marriages for teen mothers are especially possible because most of the men who get them pregnant are not themselves teens.

The big problem is unmarried teen pregnancy.

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