8 June 2016
Contraception In The Classroom
“ The American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association, the Institute of Medicine, the American School Health Association and the Society for Adolescent Medicine, all agree that comprehensive approaches to sex education help young people to delay sex and also to have healthy, responsible and mutually protective relationships” (The Truth About Abstinence-Only Programs, NA, 2016). There are two types of sex education being taught in public schools. One way is the Abstinence Only Method, and the other is the Contraceptive Method. Abstinence only sex education consists of only informing students about avoiding all sexual interactions (abstinence) and how it prevents unwanted pregnancies, and STDs. The Contraceptive Method teaches students about many forms of contraceptives, including abstinence, and how to plan to avoid unwanted pregnancies and STDs through practicing safe sex. The Contraceptive Method should be the mandated sex education curriculum in the public school system due to its more realistic teachings, decrease in unwanted pregnancies and STDs, and the foundation it provides for better decision making.
The Contraceptive Method is the more ethical and logical option of sex education due to its explanation of all birth control options to practice safe sex and their success rates. Whereas the Abstinence Only Method works by obscuring all options to practice safe sex, and only instructs students to abstain. One of the reasons the Contraception Method is superior is because of the age at which people in our society are beginning to engage in sexual relations. “Few Americans remain abstinent until marriage; many do not or cannot marry, and most initiate sexual intercourse and other sexual behaviors as adolescents” (American Teens' Sources of Sexual Health Education, NA, 2016). If a young person is taught the Abstinence Only Method, he or she may have already eliminated the only option by engaging in sex having never been taught how to practice safe sex. This may put the young, uneducated person at risk for STDs or an unwanted pregnancy. However with the Contraceptive Method, this same student would be prepared with different options of birth control in order to practice safe sex. The point of our education system in the U.S is to provide young people with unbiased knowledge in order to form their own opinions, actions, and world views. “Abstinence-only education programs, as defined by federal funding requirements, are morally problematic, by withholding information and promoting questionable and inaccurate opinions” (Santelli, et. al, 2006). The Abstinence Only Method violates this goal. It shows only one option to deal with sexual relations versus all the various options of birth control available to practice safe sex, and to be informed in your decisions and actions. After all that is the purpose of our education system: To provide people with the knowledge to make an informed decision. “The data shows clearly that abstinence-only education as a state policy is ineffective in preventing teenage pregnancy and may actually be contributing to the high teenage pregnancy rates in the U.S” (Kohler, et. al, 2008 ). This goes to show that the Abstinence Only method is neither ethical or logical. However the Contraception Method does what our education system is designed to do, is factual, and meets the needs of our society.
If the goal is to lower unintended pregnancy and STD rates then the Contraceptive Method is the way to go. Young adults need to be taught how to practice safe sex and make healthy decisions.The Abstinence Only Method teaches only one way to avoid STDs and unwanted pregnancy. Nearly one-half of young adults are sexually active and without proper sex education, have no way to protect themselves and could be part of this startling statistic. “Fifty percent of new HIV cases in the U.S each year belong to the young adults under 17” (Kirby, 2008, 1). If those teens had been taught the Contraceptive Method, they may have used their knowledge about (latex) condoms success rates would likely have chosen condoms as a source of STD protection. As they would know, “Latex condoms, used consistently and correctly, are 98-99% effective in preventing HIV transmission” (UNFPA, WHO and UNAIDS, 2015, 1).
Birth control, taught as part of the Contraceptive Method, is also an effective way of preventing pregnancy through practicing safe sex. A series of studies conducted and published in the book Journal of Adolescent Health stated,. “Adolescents who received comprehensive sex education had a lower risk of pregnancy than adolescents who received abstinence-only or no sex education.” This proves that since our goal as a society is to lessen the chances of unintended pregnancy and the spread of STDs then we need to regulate the teaching of only the Contraceptive Method in public schools.
Decision making is the most important skill one can be taught. It is what every institution strives for its students to learn; therefore, the Contraception Method should be implemented in the classroom. The Contraceptive Method teaches students about their options and success rates in order to make informed decisions that will determine the course of their life. The United Nations Population Fund in fact states, “These programmes build life skills and increase responsible behaviours, and because they are based on human rights principles, they help advance human rights, gender equality and the empowerment of young people.” The Abstinence Only Method however provides no basis for a decision. Students taught the Abstinence Only Method either choose abstinence or to have unprotected sex with the chance to have an unwanted pregnancy, or risk obtaining a STDs. This method of learning goes against the purposes of our education system(s). “Children must be taught how to think, not what to think” (Margaret Mead). The Contraceptive method provides the foundation for better decision making concerning the options of practicing safe sex or abstinence. “The vast majority of comprehensive sex education programs demonstrated strong evidence that many students delayed initiating sex”(Kirby 1).
The Contraception Method is the superior method of sex education. It provides accurate information that provides the basis for better decision making skills and overall creates a decrease of unwanted pregnancies and the spread of STDs. The Abstinence Only method is unrealistic, inaccurate, and causes more unwanted pregnancies and STDs then it prevents. The Contraceptive Method should be the mandated form of sex education in government funded education programs. The Contraception Method is not mandated nationally, but that can be changed by speaking out against the unconstitutional teachings of the Abstinence Only Method, and fighting for a better society through the Contraception Method of sex education.