News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion

September 20, 2008

Tribune-Star editorial: Abstinence-only sex ed amounts to forced ignorance

TERRE HAUTE — The unplanned pregnancy of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s 17-year-old daughter has been the most recent catalyst for Americans to revisit the issue of teenage pregnancy. Palin’s advocacy of abstinence-only sex education guaranteed that her daughter’s personal situation would become yet another topic for public and political wrangling.

According to an Indiana University sexual health scientist, that wrangling is the last thing society needs.

“We’ve got to stop treating this like a Republican-Democrat thing,” said Michael Reece, director of IU’s Center for Sexual Health Promotion. “We are talking about serious health issues here, including HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, issues with the potential to change and damage people’s lives.”

Like most mainstream researchers, Reece is more interested in data from responsible analysis than he is in hypothetical morality. The belief that teaching young people about their sexuality actually encourages them to have sex may be popular, but “we know from numerous studies that that’s just not true,” he said.

A report released last week by the National Sexuality Resource Center includes a substantial peer review of the nation’s various sex education programs for adolescents. Among the findings:

“[M]ost abstinence programs did not delay initiation of sex, and only 3 of 9 had any significant positive effects on any sexual behavior. In contrast, about two thirds of comprehensive programs showed strong evidence that they positively affected young people’s sexual behavior, including both delaying initiation of sex and increasing condom and contraceptive use among youth.” (The entire report can be found at nsrc.sfsu.edu.)

IU’s Reece points to several surveys of Indiana parents over the years that show most of them “want their kids to be prepared for sexuality when it happens.” Such preparation should include abstinence, but also all relevant elements of human sexual health, including body image and understanding how to negotiate relationships.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village 3 People Killed, Deputies Wounded in NC Shootout Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve Raw: 16 Killed in Gaza Market Strike Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Raw: Smoke, Explosions Fill Gaza Skyline Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways
NDN Video
Famous Internet Cats Help Big Cause With Viral Video Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2" Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity