President Obama recently announced that abstinence-only programs will no longer be federally funded under the 2010 budget. Obama wants to redirect this money to teen pregnancy prevention programs whose sole focus isn’t abstinence “education”.
I, for one, think this is a HUGE step forward. As a person who changed schools fairly frequently as a kid, I’ve seen the content presented in abstinence centered and non-abstinence centered programs. Let me tell you, the abstinence-centered program was worthless.
Clearly, the worst part about abstinence only programs is that they don’t provide students with any of the information that they’ll need when they inevitably decide to become sexually active. They instead focus on ineffective, uninsightful metaphors in an attempt to scare kids away from being sexually active.
In the abstinence session that I sat through, we were all instructed to open up a Hershey’s kiss, lick it once and then put it in a basket. The point here was supposed to be that you’re used goods after having sex once and that any partner after your first will find you moderately disgusting. Not only is this destructive for the self esteem of the students who will inevitably have more than one partner, it isn’t particularly insightful either. I know of few people who believe that having lots of partners makes them more attractive to future mates. But worst of all, they threw away all of that chocolate! This chunky kid was not happy about seeing all of that chocolate go to waste.
Point is, my classmates and I needed to be told that abstinence is the only way to be 100% sure that you don’t get pregnant or get an STD. The more general sex education courses I sat through as an adolescent drove this point home, but also provided vital information about what to do when I did eventually become sexually active. Let’s be honest, some people are waiting until they’re married, but the majority of people aren’t and they need to know how to protect themselves. You’re fooling yourself and putting others in danger if you believe otherwise and impose this belief.
That being said, Congress can still overturn Obama’s decision to cut funding to abstinence programs. If you want kids who will inevitably become sexually active to know about the risks and how to protect themselves, please send a message to your congressperson by clicking here.