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Let's Talk About Sex


What's a sign that your curriculum might not be effective? Well, if the subject in question is sex ed, then the finding that 13 percent of your high school's female population was pregnant last year could be a hint. The Canton, Ohio, school board has decided to rethink its abstinence-only sex ed curriculum after reviewing statistics showing that 65 of the 490 female students at Timken High School were pregnant in 2005. The new curriculum, which was developed by a committee that included a minister, "moves beyond the 'Just Say No' approach." Among the priorities were replacing circa-1988 health textbooks that were "older than some students," and updating the curriculum to go beyond state department of education requirements—which direct only that "venereal diseases" be discussed and do not require information about contraception to be taught. "Sex is more complex than the information about drugs and alcohol," said Bill Albert of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. We can say yes to that.


65 of the 490 female students were pregnant in 2005. A couple of questions come to mind. How many of those students participated in comprehensive health education? How many health education courses did they take prior to high school? What classes were offered that went beyond the basic health class? Who taught the class? Was it a certified health education teacher, a physical educator, or the school nurse?

Health education is not only knowing the percent of teenagers that become pregnant every year but the mental, social, emotional, and physical effects of teenage pregnancy. Health teaches the whole child and has that student reflect on themselves. Something most adults don't and can't do.

I totally agree with the post made by BG. Health education includes the mental, social, emotional, and physical information of health issues. I will say to you that a successful health education program in a school or district does rely on partners: superintendent, principals, counselors, school nurses, parents, and other interested stake holders. It is not totally up to a certified health teacher. When students truly understand positive self-concept and self-worth, it reduces risky behaviors that causes teen pregnancy, and STDs, especially HIV. I think that the foundation should start with mental and social health (What is it about me that I need to mindful of) learning to like and love myself. Something most adults (teachers and parents) do not spend enough time on. Students should learn that concept like they learn their ABCs.


What are the statistics for those programs that teach contraception and abortion? On a percentage basis I would venture a guess that they are much higher than those reported here. Or, if reported pregnancies are lower, how many other pregnancies were there that resulted in abortion? I'd like to see those statistics for comparison.

In Comment 3 (SM), I note some sort of belief that the "abstinence only" policy actually works. Need more data? Check the statistics for those that signed the Abstinence Pledge. Same amount of premarital sex with more pregnancy. After all, buying a condom means you KNOW you're going to sin. SM does all s/he can to demand other, more comprehensive, even ridiculous proof (how many abortions; HOW MANY UNREPORTED PREGNACNCIES). Well, you HAVE proof--13%. If you want to knock this with better data, you need to show it, or create it using a legitimate scientific method. It's not there, and it won't be there--I know. Since your way doesn't work, get out the condoms. If you can't keep the kids from having sex through your church (or whatever the values system is), don't expect the SCHOOLS to pick up the slack. We're not mommies and daddies; we're teachers. We're supposed to show them the world, both good and bad. It's our job description.

From Capitol Resource Institute
Abstinence Works!

This week a University of Pennsylvania study was released showing that abstinence-only programs reduce sexual activity among young teens and
effectively delay their becoming sexually active. The study also shows that abstinence-only programs do
not discourage condom use for teens choosing to have premature sex.

The study followed 662 African-American Grade 6 and 7 students from inner-city middle schools in Philadelphia for two years. The students were taught
an abstinence-only approach to sex, through role-playing, videos, and group discussions. As a result of the program, the students were less likely to have had sexual intercourse at 24 months' follow-up compared to those put through a "safer sex" intervention that emphasized condom use but made no mention of abstinence.

"We caused [the students] to have more positive attitudes towards abstinence and the negative consequences of engaging in sexual activity at an
early age, including being less likely to achieve one's career goals," said John Jemmott, leading author.

The timing of the University of Pennsylvania study is ironic in light of statements this past week by former-
President Bill Clinton at the International AIDS Conference in Toronto. At the conference, he
expressed concerns about the Bush administration requiring nearly a third of U.S. AIDS prevention
funding to go to abstinence training and related programs, which he said were not effective.

Teens Cope With Unwanted Pregnancies Better Than Abortions, Study Shows

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 11, 2006

Bowling Green, OH (LifeNews.com) -- A new study published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence refutes a long-standing contention that teenagers are better able to handle an abortion than dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. The study finds that adolescent girls who have an abortion are five times more likely to seek help for psychological and emotional problems than those who keep their baby.
Dr. Priscilla Coleman, a research psychologist at Bowling Green State University, led the study.

Coleman also found that teenagers who have abortions instead of carrying the pregnancy to term were also over three times more likely to report subsequent trouble sleeping, and nine times more likely to report subsequent marijuana use.

Previous studies have found that younger abortion patients may be more likely to experience difficulties coping after abortion compared to older women. That may be because they are more likely to be pressured into unwanted abortions or to undergo abortions later in the pregnancy, leading to more physical and emotional risk.

Coleman pointed out that, while having a child as a teen may be problematic, "the risks of terminating seem to be even more pronounced."

"The scientific evidence is now strong and compelling," Coleman said. "Abortion poses more risks to women than giving birth."

To both sides:
One study, one statistic, does not provide "strong and compelling" evidence for either side. One school district changing their program based on their statistics does not indicate that all school programs everywhere should change their programs. One study that compares abstinence training to intervention where the health benefits of not having sex are not even mentioned does not mean it is detrimental to also tell kids to use condoms, if they do decide to have sex. And Coleman's sweeping conclusions do not follow from his study.

Frankly, I doubt the hard, unangled evidence is out there. Both sides would be too afraid of giving the other a "prize" to do it in a properly unbiased fashion.

I hope I'm wrong, and I hope my side won. :)

Its need a private place to get information about teens health, growth, and emotions. Where I can get doctor-approved info I need to understand? WBR LeoP

We understand that health insurance can be very confusing; the terms can be difficult to understand and the forms intimidating. WBR LeoP

Comments are now closed for this post.


Recent Comments

  • Matt: We understand that health insurance can be very confusing; the read more
  • Meds Man: Its need a private place to get information about teens read more
  • HK: To both sides: One study, one statistic, does not provide read more
  • Cathy: Teens Cope With Unwanted Pregnancies Better Than Abortions, Study Shows read more
  • Anonymous: From Capitol Resource Institute http://www.capitolresource.org/ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Abstinence Works! This week read more




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