Much has been written about the abstinence-only debacle, including many calls to our elected leaders to turn down federally dollars for this destructive approach to education. Today, Paige Johnson, of Planned Parenthood of North Carolina, has a good wrap-up of the issue, with a clear call to Governor Easley to take both a principled and a pragmatic stand. Her column is at NC Policy Watch.
To help young adults gain access to lifesaving information that will prepare them for a healthy tomorrow, Governor Easley should reject the Federal Government’s highly restrictive Title V Abstinence Only Sex Education money and establish state support for comprehensive sex education.
In the sex education debate, Governor Easley does not have to stand alone. Fourteen states, including most recently Virginia, have rejected Federal Title V money because they understand that it is tied to biased Federal mandates that do nothing to help prepare young people for a successful future.
Until 1996 (when Robin Hayes mucked things up), North Carolina recognized and understood the need to teach students about the benefits of birth control and prevention of sexually transmitted infections. Most North Carolinians, who attended middle school or high school prior to 1996, remember receiving comprehensive sex education.
Recently, several major studies have demonstrated that abstinence-only programs are ineffective in changing teenagers’ sexual behavior. Most notably, a 10-year federally funded evaluation initiated by Congress proved abstinence-only education makes little difference in the lives of young people.
Roughly one-half of our high school students admit to having sex even after receiving “abstinence until marriage only” sex education. Other statistics point to the consequences of this gap. Every day in North Carolina, 53 teenage girls, 15 to 19 years of age, become pregnant. In 2006, 405 young girls in North Carolina, ages 10 to 14 became pregnant. The HIV and sexually transmitted disease rates for African Americans are approximately 10 times the rates of whites.
There's much more in Paige's excellent column. Stop by Progressive Pulse and give it a read. Then send a message to Governor Easley asking him to do the right thing and put a stop to the use of abstinence-only dollars here in North Carolina.
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