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Teen Pregnancy Proposal

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Only a few scientific pieces of evidence propose that abstinence-only education is effective in preventing or decreasing teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s). Also, there is only a little scientific evidence to indicate that comprehensive sex education is more effective in reducing or preventing teen pregnancy and STD’s than the abstinence-only education. These studies compare the teenage pregnancy and STD’s rates among teenagers in United States that partake in abstinence-only and comprehensive sex education. Teen pregnancy is now seen as a reason for public concern, some calling it an epidemic. By 1980, teen pregnancy was seen by most as a nationwide threat even though the teen pregnancy rate actually dropped throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s. But, the teen pregnancy rate, which is also comprised of abortions, miscarriages, and live birth, continued to increase during this time period. Thus, teenage pregnancy became a problem (Kirby, 2002). I hypothesize that implementing comprehensive sex education across the nation will predictably have fewer pregnancies and lower STD’s rates among adolescents compared to employing abstinence-only education.

                                                Literature Review

In a simple form, sex education is mainly to educate people about sexuality, use of contraceptive methods, ways to prevent unwanted pregnancy and STD’s, the significance of protection, and last but not least, attitudes and decision-making skills about sex. The rate of teen pregnancy in the United States is higher than that of any other first world country, which is double the rate of about twenty other first world countries and about ten times higher than the rate of Switzerland (Larsen, 2016). If in 2015, a total of 229,715 babies were born to women aged 15–19 years, for a birth rate of 22.3 per 1,000 women in this age group (CDC, 2017), and some of them were still in high school engaging in sexual activity before the time they graduate, then it clearly means adolescents need sex education. The question now is, how can the rate of teen pregnancy in the United States be reduced?


The topic of sex education is controversial, which makes it difficult for people to comprehend the different educational methodologies. There are two main types of sex education: Abstinence-only education and comprehensive sex education.

The abstinence-only sex education focuses mainly on delaying sex until marriage. This education method only educates about STD’s and HIV as a result of sexual activity, but contraceptives are not mentioned at all. This form of educations is not effective enough because it limits access to important health information for those teenagers who want to be sexually active, leaving them at risk of STD’s and unwanted pregnancy. In 2005, President G. W.  Bush had a budget proposal that included $206 million to be allocated for abstinence-only sex education. For schools to receive federal funds, they have to follow certain rules, which include not endorsing the use of contraceptives (Alford, 2001).

Comprehensive sex education that does not get any federal funds explains the effects of sexual choices, plus information on types of STD’s and how to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Some of these programs teach abstinence with comprehensive information together, which covers the consequences of being sexually active and explains the best way to stay protected (Alford, 2001). 

Although some critics suggest that providing teenagers with information about sex will only encourage them to have sex, but research says knowledge is power, and teenagers who have the right amount information are able to make right choices to protect themselves. In fact, a good amount of research recommends that comprehensive sex education is the most effective for adolescents. Some claim providing the adolescent with abstinence sex education is a safer and ethical way teenagers should address their sexuality (Franklin et al. 1997).

According to Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (2002), “a survey stated that, a high number of Americans support comprehensive sex education, 81 percent encourages that schools should teach both abstinence and comprehensive…, while 18 percent support teaching teens only abstinence sex education.” There are only a few pieces of scientific evidence to propose that abstinence sex education is more effective in preventing teen pregnancy. However, the most dependable evidence thus far has provided more support for comprehensive sex education over abstinence-only.

Comprehensive sex education is usually seen by its opponents as value-free, for it contains different types of resources, including the significant information and benefits of being abstinent. Comprehensive sex education’s main objectives are to enlighten teenagers with the most medically accurate information that is available concerning sexuality, sexual health, STDs, and contraceptive use. Comprehensive sex education also encourages teenagers to use reproductive health programs if or when they become sexually active. Critical in nature, comprehensive sex education pursues only to pass on knowledge to encourage teenagers to be responsible for their bodies and minds. This method of sex education is designed to empower teens to make educated and smart decisions as they implement their right and freedom to self-govern (Alford, 2001).



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