July 30, 2012
On July 6, 2012, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce released a pro-abstinence staff report called A Better Approach to Teenage Pregnancy Prevention: Sexual Risk Avoidance. This report details how Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA), abstinence, truly lowers the rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended teenage pregnancies as opposed to comprehensive sex education (CSE), which only focuses on reducing these risks. Truthfully, SRA paves the way for healthy teen development, because it is based on adolescent behavioral theory, relies upon effectual techniques of public health prevention programs, emphasizes the importance of parental guidance and support, and teaches personal skills teens need to avoid dangerous sexual risks. In the end, the report successfully drives home a pro-abstinence message by concluding with 22 peer-reviewed studies that demonstrate that teens have benefitted from SRA programs. To advance these efforts, the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act is seeking to promote abstinence by appropriating $15 million more for abstinence education programs and $80 million less for President Obamas Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program.
Todays push for abstinence education truly reflects how taxpayer-funded comprehensive sex education has devastated our society. Based on the idea that teens are predisposed to have premarital sex, CSE motivates teens to make decisions about sexual behavior without parental guidance and to use contraception and condoms. Although CSE does discuss abstinence, it more so emphasizes safe-sex practices. Instead of encouraging teens to avoid the risks associated with premarital sex, it encourages them to become promiscuous and increase their chance of getting STIs. While Americans have become aware of these demoralizing effects, the Obama administration has been heavily promoting CSE through programs like Teenage Pregnancy Prevention, the Personal Responsibility Education Program, the Pregnancy Assistance Fund, and Aban Ava Youth Program. For example, the Obama administration demanded for the Aban Ava Youth Program, CSE geared towards African-American children, to be replicated, even though it had large shortcomings after it was implemented.
Because sex education has had such devastating consequences on our society, more young Americans have realized that abstinence is the way to go. In fact, a CDC survey released last year shows that 75% of American 15-17 year olds are abstaining from premarital sex. Thus, this recent pro-abstinence congressional report could not have been released at a better time than now. In support of the parent-child relationship, this report promotes federal policy as a means of helping parents inform their kids about the dangers of risky sexual behavior. Although both the report and the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act are a step in the right direction, we must always remember that more government appropriations cannot solve our societal problems. Instead, parents need to step up and educate their children about the risks of sexual promiscuity and the benefits of abstinence. A resurgence of stronger American families, rather than continuous government intervention, will truly counteract premarital sex as a societal norm.