Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Will Obama Seal the Fate of Abstinence-Only in Tennessee?

Posted By on Tue, Jan 20, 2009 at 11:00 AM

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Seeing as our privileged playboy turned born-again Christian president is now out of office, perhaps it's time to get down to brass tacks and relegate abstinence-only sex education to the trash bin where it belongs.

Obama is level-headed enough to realize what a failure abstinence-only is. For the good of young people everywhere, I hope he'll move our schools toward comprehensive sex education. Study after study has shown that once kids get older, they're just as likely to have have sex as if they'd never had a dose of abstinence-only at all. The problem is they've been taught this type of sex-ed to the exclusion of safe sex practices.

Here's what more than 10 years of this has gotten Tennessee, courtesy of the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health think tank: We rank 18th in the nation in teen pregnancy. (Probably would have been good to tell them about condoms and birth control.)

Though the state and federal governments provided $32 million for contraceptive services and education in 2001 alone, Tennessee still ranks 30th in the nation in availability. We rank 42nd in laws and policies that facilitate contraceptive services and education, even though we rank rank 20th in public funding.

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