But some teenagers get pregnant anyway, the critics reply. True. As Kim and Rector note:
“Each year, some 2.6 million teenagers become sexually active -- a rate of 7,000 teens per day. Among high school students, nearly half report having engaged in sexual activity, and one-third are currently active.”
Yet this doesn’t amount to an argument against teaching abstinence. No one ever said that abstinence programs would wipe out teen pregnancy. Any improvement on this front is nothing short of miraculous, given the barrage of trashy media and cultural messages targeted at kids. The critics are engaging in a classic “straw man” argument, and they should be called on it.
The real question is: Do abstinence programs make the problem any better? Kim and Rector show that they do. In my book, Home Invasion, I cited additional Heritage research:
“In the decade or so that true abstinence-only programs have grown in popularity, the percentage of teens who say they have had sex by the time they leave high school has fallen from 56 to 48. A popular component of the abstinence-only movement, virginity pledges, has produced even better results. According to The Heritage Foundation, teens who take a virginity pledge are less likely to become pregnant by age 18, and will have fewer sexual partners in their lifetime than teens who do not take a pledge.”
We also must ask ourselves if the alternative -- so-called “comprehensive sex education,” with its pornographic emphasis on the mechanics of sex -- is any better. These programs have proven to be dismal failures. They’ve held sway for years in our nation’s classrooms, and teen sexual behavior, STDs and pregnancies have all been going up. As Kim and Rector point out:
“Today’s young people face strong peer pressure to engage in risky behavior and must navigate media and popular culture that endorse and even glamorize permissiveness and casual sex. Alarmingly, the government implicitly supports these messages by spending over $1 billion each year promoting contraception and safe-sex education -- 12 times what it spends on abstinence education.”
I hope you find that as outrageous as I do. Our teens deserve better than just a condom and a message to “be safe.” Our children are not animals, incapable of controlling themselves. They are not hopelessly immoral creatures who are going to “do it anyway.” Yet “comprehensive” sex ed teaches them that they’re just that. Parents, this is a slander against our youth. It’s a lie -- one that we must fight.
Teaching abstinence may be hard work -- and heaven knows it’s not going to win you any popularity contests. But for the sake of our teens, there’s simply no substitute. In the end, you’re the only real “protection” they’ve got. So don’t let them down.