President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America
New York — Today’s news that more than three million teenage girls have a sexually transmitted infection (STI) emphasizes the need for real comprehensive sex education. The national policy of promoting abstinence-only programs is a $1.5 billion failure, and teenage girls are paying the real price.
The statistic that one in four teen girls has an STI may come as a shock to parents, but it underscores what Planned Parenthood and those who work tirelessly to reduce the numbers of both STIs and unintended pregnancies already know too well: it is time for everyone who cares about teenagers to start focusing on the commonsense solutions that will help solve this problem.
All too often in our society, teens are bombarded with conflicting messages about sex. They are looking to us for honest and accurate information so they can make responsible decisions. As the mother of two teenagers, I know it can be difficult to talk with your kids about sex. We need education programs in our schools that will keep teens healthy — by including information about abstinence as well as contraception, healthy communication, responsible decision making, and prevention of sexually transmitted infections.
Fortunately, the word is getting out. Iowa just became the 17th state to reject federal funding for dangerous abstinence-only programs. Congress should put the right foot forward and immediately stop funding for dangerous abstinence-only programs that deny young people information about how to prevent pregnancy, protect their health and make responsible decisions.
It’s time to put money toward real solutions that will help prevent sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies among teenagers.
March 11, 2008
March 11, 2008