"Imagine a driver's education course in which teachers show students grisly photos of traffic accidents but never tell them to stop at red lights or buckle their seat belts, and you've got a pretty good idea of what abstinence-only sex education is like."
"Abstinence-only programs try to scare and shame teens, teaching only the negative consequences of sexuality without telling young people what they can do to stay safe and healthy."
"Californians mandate HIV/AIDS education in our schools and require that all sexuality education is comprehensive and medically accurate . . . Our teen pregnancy rate has fallen by 40% over the last ten years-the largest decrease in any state except Alaska."
"Proponents of abstinence-only sex education believe that knowledge can be dangerous. Ignorance, however, can be fatal."
The first quote and the second quote are relevant to the text because in most sexual education classes they inform students about all of these STDs and how everybody's going to get pregnant, but it's rare to find a sexual education class where they explain that sex obviously does lead to pregnancy but there are so many ways to protect yourself. Just like there are way too many sexually transmitted diseases but there are ways to protect yourself from that too. Informing kids about the methods of protection while they are still kids is the only way to prevent it. They have to reach the children about methods of protection BEFORE they are sexually active, that way they have the knowledge and the power to protect themselves.
I've heard of some people who have ended up getting pregnant while they were teenagers just because they were too embarrassed to buy condoms. Just like I've heard of some people who have went without prenatal care for a few months just because they didn't want to have to admit that they were actually carrying a baby. There are ways to prevent these things without just focusing on the negative.
The third quote is so important because in the state of California they have been teaching the children HIV/AIDS education and they have been giving them beneficial information about human sexuality that way they aren't just telling them all of the bad things such as teen pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, instead, they are embracing the fact that having knowledge about each person's individual body and sexuality, they are able to protect themselves. If the state of California can reduce their teen pregnancy rate by 40% within ten years then it is definitely possible, but there needs to be more programs more readily available for other children in other states.
The last quote really meant a lot because the sexual education programs within schools withhold useful knowledge of diseases and pregnancy to try to "protect" the kids, but in all reality, all they are doing is making it worse because they are not giving the kids the proper tools to protect themselves in a sexual world that is not always safe.
The fact that some sexual education programs tell information that is based on lies baffles me! It is stated in the essay that some programs have been telling kids that exposure to sweat and/or tears is exposing yourself to HIV/AIDS, or touching the genitals of the opposite sex can result in pregnancy, or that the majority of women who have abortions end up becoming sterile, or that condoms fail to protect against HIV. All of those are false, and that needs to be brought to the young people of today's attention, because there are ways to prevent diseases and protect yourself, and obviously that way works because California is seeing significant improvements.
This essay reminds me a lot of Bristol Palin. She preaches abstinence but yet she had her own son when she was a teenager. This proves that abstinence is not a useful tool against sex. Teaching kids to be abstinent is extremely unrealistic. And on top of that, it's not the only way to prevent having a baby as a teenager.
Here is the public service announcement advocating for abstinence... (Her own son is in the commericial.)
Even though Bristol Palin keeps "flip-flopping" between being for abstinence or for being realistic and wanting teenagers to be educated, the point is that abstinence isn't very effective because many teenagers who are raised to be abstinent, such as Bristol Palin, are sexually active before marriage but they lie about it to their parents. However, if the children are raised to have the knowledge to prevent STDs and teen pregnancy they will have the power to stay protected. Abstinence is ignorance, and it kind of reminds me of "The Master's Tools will never Dismantle the Master's house" because you can't fight oppression (sometimes teenagers who are parents are more likely to be uneducated, more likely to be on some type of assistance) by using the Master's Tools (which is just ignorance: teaching the children tools that are just untrue, such as that you can get pregnant by having somebody touch your genitals.) Building a foundation on sexual education that is based on lies will keep people oppressed if the real information, the truth, is not available to them.