How State Educators Are Fighting Back Against Harmful "Abstinence-Only" Programs
It's back-to-school school time for students and families across the country. And that means young people will be filing into classrooms to expand their minds and learn.
But when it comes to reproductive health, many students are censored from getting the facts to help them avoid unintended pregnancy until they're ready, prevent STIs, and have a positive self-image. That's because anti-choice politicians have forced teachers to teach "abstinence-only" programs in classrooms across the country, even though they're a huge disaster:
- The U.S. has one of the highest rates of unintended pregnancy compared to other developed countries. And even though teen pregnancy rates have fallen in recent years, they are still higher than other developed countries.
- Researchers estimate that more than half of all new sexually transmitted infections occur in young people ages 15-24.
- And a new study shows that most Americans are in the dark about basic facts about abortion.
Thankfully, cities and school districts are thinking twice about gambling with young people's futures and are putting a stop to the "abstinence-only" approach.
Just look at Baltimore. The city has developed a program that teaches students about reproductive health by having them create their own comic book about STIs and birth control. Talk about an innovative way to engage young people while also teaching them the facts!
The school district of Lawrence, Kansas is ditching the state's "abstinence-only" programs and are instead following national standards, which include information about birth control and sexual orientation and teaches that sexual development is a natural and normal part of becoming an adult.
And the second-largest school district in Oklahoma gave up on "abstinence-only" when it found that the state had the fourth-highest teen pregnancy rate.
It's time for even more states to stand up to anti-choice politicians who are pushing "abstinence-only" programs that jeopardize young people. Withholding information about their reproductive health is never the way to go.