Abstinence-only education fails to curb teen pregnancies, funding should be cut



The Colt staff supports President Obama’s proposal to cut funds to abstinence-only sex education.

In February, President Obama proposed his 2017 federal budget, which cuts $10 million per year from the Department of Health and Human Services. This budget cut would completely halt federal funding of abstinence-only education, practiced by Texas, if approved. Congress has returned from it’s summer break, and has until the end of September to approve the budget. We at The Colt wholeheartedly support the stop of federally sponsored abstinence-only sex education.

Abstinence-only sex ed isn’t helping lower teen pregnancy and it is clear that teens won’t stop having sex, even after taking classes that tell them not to. This causes us to wonder why schools would not require classes that teach important safe sex habits that will be applicable to real life situations. Texas is 5th in the nation in number of teen pregnancies, despite the abstinence-only education provided to every student.

According to The Dallas Morning News, 41 out of 1,000 girls in Texas get pregnant every year, and in Dallas county this number can be as high as 50. Thirty percent of female high school dropouts in Texas cite pregnancy as their reason for leaving school. These statistics easily disprove the idea that abstinence-only education works. Teenagers are going to engage in sexual activity. It is simply human nature. Urging adolescents to not have intercourse will not halt their sexual proclivities, as the alarming number of teen pregnancies in Texas shows.

Abstinence-only education has not only proven ineffective, but has created a negative stigma between adults and teenagers when it comes to talking about sex. Overall, discourses concerning sex are viewed as uncomfortable between teens and adults, and are often time ignored completely. Parents rely on schools to teach their students about sexual education, and schools are relying on parents. This has created a statewide miscommunication which has proven to be detrimental to students. As a high schooler makes their way to adulthood, sex should not be a taboo word that people hesitate to mutter.

It is impossible to completely ban sex, so it would be better if schools taught students about the safe way to go about it, rather than not teach it at all and risk the consequences. School should be about educating the students, not holding back information in hopes of stopping something that all students wonder about.

We see it fit to point out, that cutting the federal budget to the DHHS would not guarantee that Texas stops teaching abstinence-only education. However, if this type of sex ed is to continue, Texas will be paying for it out of it’s own education budget, which is already known to be tight.

Texas would be wrong to deny students access to applicable sexual education. If a change is implemented, both teen pregnancies and the spread of STDs could be hindered. Not to mention, the money saved by the government would be relocated to more productive, inclusive, and less offensive education to those who might not want to adhere to abstinence-only sermons.

When the name Texas is uttered, Americans immediately think of our easily recognizable shape, our Friday night football, our southern accents, and our statewide obsession with Sweet Tea and Whataburger. Headlines like Texas high school with chlamydia outbreak has abstinence-only sex ed  and  Texas School District Sex Education Compares Non-Virgins To Chewed Gum are ruining our beloved state’s reputation. By changing our statewide approach to sex education, Texas can avoid these embarrassing headlines and outdated curriculum. So really, President Obama may be doing Texas a huge favor.