Texas has the fifth highest teen birth rate in the country. A recent study found that the teen birth rate has gone up nationwide, but that there are clusters where it has increased. Texas also has the highest repeat teen pregnancy in the country.
Somehow, this is happening despite the fact that Texas teaches a strict abstinence-only sex-ed policy. States that provide a more inclusive sex education program have shown decreases in teen pregnancies. Hmmm…I wonder why?
Let’s see. Abstinence-only sex education programs teach that contraception doesn’t work. They basically attempt to scare the horniness out of teenagers. Gwen Daverth, CEO of the Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, told NPR:
“What we see is there are not supports in place. We’re not connecting high-risk youth with contraception services. And we’re not supporting youth in making decisions to be abstinent.”
Texas began offering free contraception, but teens have to have parental consent to get it, so that doesn’t really help. Many of these parents are so bigoted that they think sticking their heads in the sand and not allowing contraception will keep their teen from having sex.
All of these programs are about one thing: fear. They use scare tactics to try and force teens to abstain from sex until marriage. They also preach that your dreams won’t come true and all kinds of other horrible things will happen if you don’t abstain. Being from the South, I’ve been exposed to these programs myself. They tried to force 13-year-olds to sign abstinence pledges.
Abstinence is fine, but we need to be educating young people about contraception. So, they will be safe if they do decide to have sex.
Featured image via Twitter.