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Comprehensive sex education is more effective than Abstinence-only

By Nyana Harper, Editor-in-chief

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Sex education in Ohio is not about educating the youth about the risks, dangers, and choices that come with sex. It is about scaring the youth into abstinence. The negative effects are talked about and then follow it up with “Abstinence is the only way to 100% protect yourself”.

But that is not always true. Technically abstinence cannot infallibly protect you unless you abstain from everything. Some diseases can be contracted through blood to blood contact or even just sharing a water bottle.

Comprehensive Sex Education teaches abstinence as the most effective and best method to avoid contracted STD’s and unwanted pregnancy. But, it also teaches about contraception and condoms.

Kristin Freeman is a Kettering resident and a Certified Sexuality Educator in Ohio. She has been teaching for four years and has taught hundreds of students from preschoolers to senior citizens.

I love watching people become empowered from my classes,” Freeman said. “I’ve heard from former students that they were able to leave an abusive relationship because of the work we did on healthy relationships. I’ve had parents thank me for helping them have ‘The Talk’ with their children. It’s incredibly rewarding work and I love it!”

Freeman believes that everything taught in the classes are helpful, important and normal in everyone’s life at one point. Her classes are about more than just sex.

“It goes in detail about healthy relationships, consent, anatomy, sexuality and safer sex options for all people,” Freeman said. “It doesn’t deal in shame, stigma or fear. It empowers people to make the best decisions about their own lives with accurate medically and scientifically information free from judgment.”

Freeman has helped many students and continues to teach them.

“In comparing abstinence-only programs with comprehensive sex education, comprehensive sex education was associated with a 50 percent lower risk of teen pregnancy,” Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States said.

Abstinence Only leaves students with unanswered questions.

This can then hinder them in the future. Questions that should have been answered by the teachers to further protect their students such as “Can you wear two condoms for extra protection?”, “Do you have to be 18 to buy condoms?”, and “Should I bring the condom just in case he won’t?”. [And if you too are wondering, the answers are “absolutely no”, “no” and “yes, if you plan to be sexually active, the responsibility to be safe lies on both parties”.]

Students are forced to turn to search engines or other students where they may not be getting correct information.

Not only could the internet give harmful and wrong information, but the Abstinence Only curriculum could as well.

In December 2004, the U.S. House of Representative’s Committee on Government Reform led by Rep. Henry A. Waxman released a report showing that 80 percent of the most popular federally funded abstinence-only education programs use curricula that distort information about the effectiveness of contraceptives, misrepresent the risks of abortion, blur religion and science, treat stereotypes about girls and boys as scientific fact, and contain basic scientific errors,” Advocates for Youth said.

Advocates for Youth is a nonprofit organization and advocacy for sexuality education,the prevention of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, teenage pregnancy prevention and much more.

Abstinence Only curriculum can not only harm and mislead youth but it is also not as successful as Comprehensive Sex Education. Ohio schools need Comprehensive Sex Education for the safety of their students.

“Abstinence-only or abstinence-based sexuality education doesn’t work. It’s been proven to not work,” Freeman said. “Yet we still teach it to our children in many school districts. If it were any other subject, we wouldn’t allow that happen.”

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Comprehensive sex education is more effective than Abstinence-only