‘Abstinence Only Education’ poses threat to youth


Morgan (Lou) Nations, Reporter/Copy Editor/Editorial Editor

    In 2006, the federal government spent $173 million on abstinence only programs, as enacted by Title V, Section 510 of the Social Security Act in 1996. This money was spent in spite of the 98% public disapproval of abstinence only, often referred to as AOE programs. All inclusive sexual education programs, known as Comprehensive programs, claim that AOE programs should be outlawed due to their negative impact on youth. It is believed that they are withholding information about contraception, pregnancy, STIs,STDs, rules of consent, gender, sexuality, and contraception; this is believed to go against their ‘exclusive purpose’.

    AOE programs need to be outlawed.

   Not teaching proper contraceptive use can ruin lives. According to Lindenburg.com, teenagers reported either not being shown contraceptive methods at all, or only with the assumption of abstinence ; during their teenage years. With 750,000 15-19 year olds going through pregnancy in the U.S. every year, and 20 million people of the same age group being diagnosed with one or more sexually transmitted diseases, contraception education proves to be a nationwide necessity.

   Gender roles are being pushed. AOEs aren’t supposed to mention contraception except when discussing their failure rates, but when they do, that responsibility is pushed on women. Currently there are 11 different methods of contraception for women, and only two for men. Women have the option of hormonal or barrier methods, both of which have side effects such as heart attack, stroke, blood clots, and liver tumors. While the side effects of condoms, and vasectomies are minor complications such as inflammation, or irritation. This situation is clearly unleveled.

   Withholding healthcare information kills teens. Sexually transmitted diseases in general have a mortality rate of 42%-62%. People who don’t know about infections such as HIV, Chlamydia, and herpes can lead to the ignorance of their severity and mass spreading. According to the Youth Fertility Clinic, STIs and STDs can cause infertility as well as heart disease, cancer, and possible blindness. AOEs can not claim to care for the youth, while actively endangering them by withholding information.

   Those who support AOEs such as religious individuals, claim that this style of education will lessen the number of teen pregnancies by teaching the importance of love between sexual partners. This simply is not supported by research data that clearly states that pregnancy rates are as high as ever with 16% of all girls becoming mothers as a teen, while 76% of public and private schools are currently teaching the AOE program.

   If the leaders of AOEs truly want to spread the importance of respect and love amongst sexual partners, they would urge the education of consent, communication, and protection ( it is both parties responsibility to use contraception). The health, safety, and overall well-being of the students should be the educators main priority, and AOE programs should be outlawed as they are a danger to students.