It is incomprehensible that leaders of organizations working with teens would oppose abstinence. The increase in abstinence programs has been effective in reversing trends that some believed were irreversible. It is clear from my analysis of official data that abstinence education is behind the current decreases in teen births, teen abortion and the number of teens engaged in sexual activity.
While the left claims that abstinence education is a too-simplistic “just say no” campaign, the programs teach teens how to say “no” and give them the skills and character development needed for them to be able to say “no” effectively. And many teens need to learn that sexually active girls regret their early sexual activity — nearly two-thirds (63 percent) state that they wish they had waited to have sex.
The left claims that comprehensive sex education provides strong abstinence messages along with thorough sex education. Actually, most of the literature is filled with topics that parents find offensive (recommending masturbation as a substitute for intercourse, promoting homosexuality, discussing oral and anal sex, etc.) with only token coverage (less than a page) of abstinence. [Note that with more parental involvement and their outrage at some of the content in sex education programs, the objectionable materials are sometimes in the teacher’s manuals and other supplemental literature rather than in the books that the students take home.]
Many teens don’t know the facts, and the comprehensive sex education programs do not inform them. A Maryland teenager, Stephen, was part of a conversation with friends who claimed that “everyone is doing it.” Stephen told them that, statistically, teens today are less sexually active. They were surprised; they had not heard that important fact in their so-called “full-coverage” sex education program.
Stephen summed up our view when he asked, “Don’t you think our sex ed programs should tell us that more and more teens are choosing to stay abstinent and how they are doing it?”