Comprehensive Sex Education vs. Abstinence

Pages: 6 (1484 words) Published: April 30, 2014


Comprehensive Sex Education vs. Abstinence-Only Education and its Affects on Teen Pregnancy

Comprehensive Sex Education vs. Abstinence-Only Education and its Affects on Teen Pregnancy
Among many well-established countries such as Sweden, France, Canada, Great Britain, and the United States, teen pregnancy rates remain highest in the United States (Kohler, 2008). As a result of high teen pregnancy and birth rates in the United States, selecting the most suitable type of sex education program to be taught in the education system remains a continuing argument (Stanger-Hall, 2011). Parents, politicians, and educators are among those whom express their apprehensions and views regarding sex education (Malone, 2011). The two types of sex education programs used in schools are abstinence-only education, and comprehensive sex education. “Abstinence-only messages teach that sex should be delayed until marriage, and discussion of birth control methods is typically limited to statements about ineffectiveness” (Kohler, 2008, p. 345). Whereas, comprehensive sex education “includes teaching not only about abstinence, but also contraception, including emergency contraception; reproductive choice; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT), and questioning issues; as well as anatomy; development; puberty; relationships; and all other issues one would expect to be covered in a traditional sex education class” (Malone, 2011, p. 5). In teenage adolescents, how does comprehensive sex education compared with abstinence-only education affect teen pregnancy rates? Evidence

After extensive search for evidence-based literature by using keyword search and research databases, such as ProQuest, I have chosen three articles, which contain supporting evidence and information that pertains to my topic of comprehensive sex education versus abstinence-only education programs and its affects on pregnancy rates among the teenage adolescent population.

Government funding for abstinence-only programs has greatly increased over the years. Annual funding for abstinence-only programs originated as low at $80 million in 2001, and increased to approximately $204 million by 2008 (Kohler, 2008). Federal funding for abstinence-only education was briefly interrupted in 2009 due to increasing evidence that abstinence-only programs were not highly effective; however, was reestablished from 2010 and thereafter with funding that included $114 million for the evidence-based Teed Pregnancy Prevention Initiative and $250 million of mandatory abstincnce-only funding (Stanger-Hall, 2011). Therefore, we have seen approximately $1.5 billion dedicated by the federal government to the abstinence-only education program (Malone, 2011). “Consistent with this increase in funding, analyses of Cycle 5 (1995) and Cycle 6 (2002) of the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) revealed that whereas only 9.3% of adolescents aged 15-19 received abstinence-only education in 1995, nearly a quarter (23.8%) did so in 2002” (Kohler, 2008, p. 345). However, with the continued rise in percentage of abstinence-only education, systematic reviews indicate that sexual behavior and activity levels are insignificantly improved among the teenage population (Kohler, 2008).

Those that support the abstinence-only education program continue to attempt to construct a program in which young people are taught to remain abstinent because it is the only entirely efficient way to prevent pregnancy as well as decrease the risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) (Malone, 2011). “Thirty of 38 states containing sex education laws contained abstinence-only provisions with the expectations that higher levels of abstinence education will be associated higher levels of abstinence behavior and thus lower levels of teen pregnancy” (Stanger-Hall, 2011, p. 2).

Comprehensive sex education balances and enhances the sex education children receive from other sources (Malone, 2011). Although...

References: Kohler, P., Manhart, L., & Lafferty, W. (2008). Abstinence-Only and Comprehensive Sex Education and the Initiation of Sexual Activity and Teen Pregnancy. Journal of Adolescent Health, 42(1), 344-351.
Malone, P., & Rodriguez, M. (2011). Comprehensive sex education vs. abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. Human Rights, 38(2), 5-7,22.
Stanger-Hall, K., & Hall, D. (2011, October 14). Abstinence-Only Education and Teen Pregnancy Rates: Why We Need Comprehensive Sex Education in the U.S.. PLoS ONE, 6(10). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0024658
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