Thursday, October 14, 2004

Sex Ed in Texas

Via Melissa Pardue of the Heritage Foundation:

The Texas board of education has held two hearings to help it decide how to vote on Nov. 5, when board members will rule on whether to replace health textbooks now in circulation with updated texts, beginning in the 2005 school year.

The stakes are high. Texas is the country’s second-largest buyer of textbooks (after California), and publishing companies often market the books that Texas adopts to the other 49 states.

The updated texts could be required to include information on abstinence as well as medically accurate information on sex education. That means facts on the ineffectiveness of condoms and other forms of contraception in preventing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and pregnancy. The current textbooks fail to explain that abstinence is the only 100-percent effective method to prevent STDs and pregnancy.

Nationwide, 10 scientific studies prove that abstinence education reduces teen sexual activity and dramatically decreases out-of-wedlock childbearing.

Of course, my default position is that school choice would make all of this irrelevant (or at least would localize and privatize the controversy) but in absence of that, this is refreshing news. Common sense may yet prevail.

Melissa goes on to make two interesting points:
Of course, certain contraception-promotion advocates (such as Planned Parenthood) claim the texts don’t have enough information about condoms. They say abstinence education is dangerous and could lead to more pregnancies and STDs.


Most sexually active teens say they wish they had waited until they were older before engaging in sexual activity. Nearly two-thirds of sexually active teens express regret about their initial sexual activity.

Unfortunately, nearly all government-funded comprehensive sex-ed courses -- many of which are misleadingly called “abstinence-plus” programs -- contain little, if any, reference to abstinence. They may mention it briefly, but it’s often presented as something that (wink, wink) kids in the “real world” will ignore.

OK, maybe that's more than two points, but I couldn't resist throwing that last paragraph in. It is always gratifying to be winked at by a pretty girl, however indirectly.

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