West Palm Beach — On the heels of a new study showing a rise in teenage pregnancy rates, Planned Parenthood of South Florida and the Treasure Coast is urging policymakers to make comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education a priority in local communities, and parents to demand it. The Guttmacher Institute study shows that teen pregnancy rates rose three percent in 2006 — the first rise in more than a decade.
“This new study makes crystal clear what Planned Parenthood has known for years — abstinence-only sex education for teenagers does not work,” said Lillian A. Tamayo, President/CEO of Planned Parenthood of South Florida and the Treasure Coast. “This study should serve as a wake-up call to anyone who still believes that teenagers aren’t sexually active or that abstinence-only programs curb the rate of teen pregnancy. Now more than ever, we must ensure that our teenagers receive medically accurate, age-appropriate sex education that gives them the tools to make responsible decisions about their health.”
Unfortunately, after a decade of progress in reducing the rate of teenage pregnancy, we are witnessing a substantial increase in the number of teens who are getting pregnant. In addition, we are facing a crisis in the alarming rate of sexually transmitted infections among our young people. It is unacceptable that one out of every two sexually active young people has a sexually transmitted infection by the age of 25.
Planned Parenthood of South Florida and the Treasure Coast applauds President Obama and members of Congress who have recognized that abstinence-only programs do not work, and who are investing in medically accurate, age-appropriate sex education for our teenagers. We urge local elected officials to do the same. An investment in comprehensive sex education is an investment in reducing unintended and teen pregnancies.
Nationwide, every year, Planned Parenthood physicians and nurses see nearly 700,000 teenagers who come to Planned Parenthood health centers with questions about their sexual activity and health. Moreover, millions of teenagers worldwide seek medically accurate information about sexual health on Planned Parenthood’s website http://www.ppsoflo.org/.
The mission of Planned Parenthood of South Florida and Treasure Coast, Inc. is to provide comprehensive sexual health care through the provision of clinical services, education and advocacy. We do so by understanding and responding to the needs of those seeking our services, and by protecting and respecting the essential privacy rights, dignity and culture of each individual.
January 27, 2010