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Abstinence Education Enables Educated Decisions


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Abstinence Education Enables Educated Decisions

Posted by Senator Jim DeMint

There is another heated debate going on in our nation's Capitol. The debate is over sexual education in our public schools. The critical question is how do we, as the stewards of this nation, solve the problem of teen pregnancy. Most recently, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and supporter of comprehensive sex education, called into question the validity of funding abstinence-based education in a hearing last week.

To me, the answer is glaringly obvious. We must give young people the abstinence education they deserve to make the right choices for their future.

Abstinence-based education provides the foundation for making healthy personal choices. By emphasizing the impact sexual activity has on adolescents and their future goals, these abstinence programs enable them to make educated, safe decisions that lead to happiness in their adult life.

The facts are clear: Those who participate in abstinence programs are more likely to have better grades in school and have more stable lives. A recent assessment of 21 studies of abstinence education by the nonpartisan Heritage Foundation found:

"...abstinent teens report, on average, better psychological well-being and higher academic achievement than those who are sexually active. Delaying the initiation of or reducing early sexual activity among teens can decrease their overall exposure to risks of unwed childbearing, STDs, and psycho-emotional harm."

Meanwhile, after years of continued funding for safe-sex education (over $1 billion a year), reported sexually transmitted diseases have increased (one in four high school girls have an STD) and cases of teenage pregnancies have risen.

In fact, a report released in June of 2007 by the Department of Health and Human Services revealed eye-raising components of safe-sex education, such as providing tips to engage in sexual activity. In addition, when parents are aware what comprehensive sex education actually teaches compared to abstinence-based education, they are more likely to support the latter.

Of course, the best sexual education is happening in the home. There is no substitute for parents discussing this issue with their kids. But if our government is going to manage curriculum in our school, it should make abstinence education a priority. Unlike other federally mandated programs, it actually works.

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