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The dangers of abstinence-only education

“If you have sex, your penis will fall off into another dimension where dogs will eat it.”

Sure, this quote from the popular show “Family Guy” may seem incredibly exaggerated, it does seem that at times the government’s “abstinence only” system of sexual education is aiming for the same goal: scaring teenagers away from sex.

We probably all sat down at some point in high school at an assembly, and listened to some government funded speaker tell us that the only way to protect against pregnancy, diseases and problems, is to not have sex. Mine was like all of the rest; a die-hard right-winger against abortion, sexual awareness and who believed the only safe sex is no sex at all. She joked with us, used stereotypical teenage colloquialisms in an attempt to try to relate and manipulate us.

These abstinence only speakers tell teenagers about all of the dangers of pre-marital sex. They tell you if you have sex, you’ll probably become pregnant, and if you somehow avoid that, then you’ll probably acquire a shiny new sexually transmitted disease, either of which will surely ruin your entire life.

They proceed to deny that teenage pregnancy can in any way be dealt with, declaring that abortions are the work of the devil, and that the father will more than likely not stick around or pay child support. Then they shove shockingly “real” statistics into the faces of na’ve teenagers that “prove” that teenage mothers will drop out of high school and live in poverty.

Most of them, to their credit, do report the correct number of teenage mothers each year, one out of every three girls to be exact.

What they won’t tell you, as the Alan Guttenmacher Institute reports, is one in every three sexually active teenage girls becomes pregnant. This statistic is humbling to these abstinence only crusaders when you consider that the institute also reported that over 60 percent of the country’s teenage women describe themselves as sexually active. Once that fact is applied to the one in every three statistic, it becomes a bit less scary.

They come at you with statistics about sexually transmitted diseases, and tell you how you’ll be getting them all. However, the institute reported that one in every four sexually active teenagers becomes infected.

Still, this is too high of a rate. Delivering information to teenagers about safe sex, instead of absolutely no sex, would undoubtedly lower the number portrayed in these statistics.

Jessica Valenti, author of the book “Full Frontal Feminism,” has stated that because of these presentations informing student about how contraceptives are a sin, how they can give you cancer and how they usually don’t work anyway, teenagers are more likely to have intercourse and option out of using birth control. Valenti also reports that teenagers who claim to be abstinent tend to choose to have anal and oral sex.

Now sure it’s not officially intercourse, but is that really the result that these conservative minded speakers had in mind? Doubtful.

So obviously these abstinence only tactics aren’t working all that efficiently.

This fact may be a bit less obvious for our president, who, as reported by the Unitarian Universalist Association, desires that another $22 million be added to the funding of this abstinence-only sex education. Making a total of $104 million being poured into this ignorant cause, its biased presenters, its misleading statistics, and all of its scare tactics. Outrageous.

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