Some conservative activists believe that if “abstinence only” is taught in schools it will eliminate the need for sex education and information on sexually transmitted diseases. After all, if teens aren’t having sex before marriage, then no problem, right?
One problem for gay teens is that it tells them that they can’t have sex before marriage, and that they can’t ever get married. Since “no sex for you, ever” isn’t a very compelling message, the gay community continues to fight the ongoing battle to have inclusive education to reduce misinformation and the spread of disease.
A second problem with the “abstinence only” approach is that it appears not to work.
It is reasonable to assume that the abstinence message would be most effective if backed up by regular church attendance and a religious family that instills you with these values. If the abstinence message doesn’t work for the religious children of Texas Southern Baptists, surely it won’t work for secularly raised children in public schools.
A new study by a Baylor chaplain of newlyweds, all of whom profess faith and 99% of whom attend Baptist churches found that 62% of males and 65% of females had engaged in premarital sex. If oral sex is included, the rate rose to 73%.
Although those individuals who had signed a “purity pledge” were twice as likely to abstain, even 40% of those who signed a formal “purity pledge” had sexual intercourse before marriage. While it is likely that those originally most committed to the idea of abstinence would be the ones willing to sign the pledge, AgapePress chooses to believe that “signing a formal purity pledge seems to prolong abstinence”.
It would seem to me that in the face of this evidence, the church leaders would want to see their children protected and informed about disease and pregnancy – at least until they could come up with something more effective in reducing premarital sex among their parishioners. I doubt, however, that the Southern Baptist Church will let up on its effort to remove accurate, inclusive, and relevant information about sexuality from the public classroom and replace it with religion-based “abstinence only” activism.
Ironically, this also is today from AgapePress:
(AgapePress) – Rhode Island has dumped a federal education program that encourages young people to abstain from sexual activity and other risky behaviors. The state’s education officials are being accused of caving in to the demands of the ACLU.[snip]
The program at issue is an abstinence-only-until-marriage curriculum called “Right Time, Right Place,” which, according to Heritage, is a “character-based family-life and sexuality program” designed to work within a school’s already existing curriculum.