Condom Distribution in Public School Systems
According to the Center for Disease Control, there are approximately nineteen million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases reported every year. While this number seems astounding, it is more surprising that nearly half of those instances occur in the 15-25 year age group. Furthermore, nearly 300,000 unplanned teenage pregnancies arise mostly because of poor or no condom use (Ventura 53). Condom use has proven to be a very effective method to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, if condoms are used properly. Currently, there is much debate being stirred up as to whether or not condoms should be distributed in public school systems. While many look at the statistics in shock, and openly embrace the idea of offering free contraception to teenagers, there is a strong opposition as well. Those who stand against condom distribution believe that condom distribution is a way of promoting sexual activity, and believe in the teaching of abstinence-only education in the schools. The habits taught and promoted during teen years will be long lasting. Therefore, with proper education and the distribution of free contraception, there will be prevention of poor sexual behavior in that particular age group and, over time, in older age groups as well.
Each year, the United States spends millions of dollars in order to aid developing countries in Africa that struggle with the AIDS epidemic. At the same time, people are arguing that there is not enough money to provide contraception, namely condoms, to the public schools, especially ones in poorer areas of the country. Many students in underprivileged neighborhoods lack the funds to purchase condoms or feel that the money spent to purchase condoms could be spent to buy other necessities. Lower class areas are the highest areas of unwanted pregnancies and STD infection (Kaiser 8). This problem may be severely lessened if proper sexual education was taught in the schools, along with the distribution of free condoms. The majority of the opposition thinks that if condoms are not available for free in the public school system, students engaging in sexual intercourse will purchase them elsewhere, namely outside of the schools. This is a somewhat of an unrealistic belief because not all teens will purchase condoms, which they do not think will be necessary. On the other hand, if condoms are offered in schools, students will always carry contraception on them, which will greatly increase the chance of using it if they decide to engage in sexual activity. The United States has a significantly lower contraception rate than that of Western Europe, both in consistency, and in effectiveness. However, Western Europe shows a higher trend of contraception education and distribution (Ventura 52). The connection seems to be clear that with the teaching and distribution of condoms, we are able to prevent a whole array of problems in our teenage population. The cost of providing health care and other essentials to youth afflicted with a sexually transmitted disease is relatively high, in comparison to the cost of providing condoms to that teenager. Even worse is an unwanted pregnancy. The cost of abortion, emergency contraception, or even the aid needed to support the baby is far greater than that of the contraception that could have been provided to prevent the pregnancy. The opposing movement however feels that their tax dollars should not be spent on something that they either do not believe in, or strongly oppose. The idea of supporting a program that offends them, which utilizes the money they work so hard to earn, is not only unfair, but also insulting. Their tax dollars will still go towards treating those who have suffered the consequences of poor sexual behavior; expenses that were already mentioned are much more costly than contraception. Some argue that the...
Bibliography: Kaiser Family Foundation. (2003). National Survey of Adolescents and Young Adults: Sexual Health Knowledge, Attitudes, and Experiences. Washington DC. Kaiser Family Foundation. Print.
Ventura, S.J, et al. (2003) “Revised Pregnancy Rates, 1990 – 97, and New Rates for 1998 – 99.
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