Teen Pregancy Rates Demand Honest Look
Data released today by the CDC indicates teen births rose in 2007 by 1% and represent the highest number registered in US history [link]. As numbers swell, it is important to evaluate the programs and the dollars that have been appropriated to this pressing issue. It is time for objectivity and sound reasoning to exam our efforts to reach teens.
Currently according to a Guttmacher study, 68% of public schools teach contraceptive-based sex education and fewer than 1 in 4 receive abstinence centered education. With the majority of teens in American schools receiving a message that demonstrates and advocates contraception use, with a special emphasis on condoms, questions regarding the effectiveness of that message need to be posed. “We must put politics aside and take a serious look at programs that enjoy a 4:1 funding advantage over abstinence programs and purport to show effectiveness in media sound bites but fall very short of that reality in the nagging numbers just released” stated Valerie Huber, Executive Director of the National Abstinence Education Association.
However the rise in teen births is not surprising when we learn that the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine recently published a study showing 1 in 3 young women still at risk for pregnancy and HIV even though they reported consistent condom usage after having received an intensive condom education program. These facts demonstrate that there are no easy answers to the problem of teen pregnancy. It is imperative that an objective national discussion ensue. “Now is not the time to discontinue the one approach that removes all risk of teen pregnancy – and that is abstinence education. Teens deserve the important skills they receive in these programs and they need them now more than ever,” added Huber.