Sex Ed; Teach What Works The Florida Times Union January 5, 2009
Teach what works
Abstinence-only programs are ineffective and put our youth at risk.
A study of some of the strongest abstinence-only programs by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health provided further evidence.The study showed that teenagers who pledge to remain abstinent until marriage were just as likely to engage in sexual activity as those who do not make this pledge.
Even more alarming, those who made "virginity pledges" were significantly less likely to use condoms and other forms of birth control.
How many more studies do we need to see before we start arming our youth with the information they need to protect themselves?
In November 2007, the University of Florida came out with a study showing that although technically Florida schools are required to teach sex education, there are no statewide standards for course content, or when it is to occur.
Young people are getting too little information, too late.
One year ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 1 in 4 teen girls have at least one of the common sexually transmitted diseases.
Twenty-five states across the country have rejected Title V federal funds used to teach ineffective abstinence-only programs. Florida receives nearly $13 million dollars in federal abstinence-only funding - and contributes $1.5 million in state funding to this Title V program.
It's time for Florida to reject federal abstinence-only funding and pass the Healthy Teens Act.
This bill would require Florida public schools that already teach information about sexually transmitted infections, family planning, and pregnancy to provide medically-accurate and comprehensive sex education - including facts about abstinence and methods of preventing unintended pregnancy and the spread of diseases.
Clearly, abstinence-only education is often just wishful thinking.
THE REV. CHRISTOPHER MARTIN,
Board Chairman, Planned Parenthood of Northeast Florida