Texas school districts turn to abstinence plus
Sexual education has been a hot topic in America's school systems, as some parents and public figures believe that teaching students about ways to practice safe sex actually encourages them to do the deed. However, advocates for the safe sex movement have long said that it doesn't force children to engage in sexual activities, but rather prepares them for when the day inevitably happens with tips on preventing unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
One state that has been loud about promoting abstinence rather than safe sex practices is Texas. Now, The New York Times is reporting that the Lone Star State is changing its tune following an abundance of teenage girls ending up pregnant because they were not taught about prevention methods.
According to the news provider, some Texas schools are beginning to offer "abstinence plus" teachings, which emphasize the importance of waiting to have sex while still educating students about proper birth control methods.
"We're getting calls from all over the state," Susan Tortolero, the director of the University of Texas' Prevention Research Center in Houston, who developed the curriculum being used in Midland, told the news provider. "It's like we're beyond this argument of abstinence, abstinence plus. Districts want something that works."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately two-thirds of the babies that are born to girls under 18 years old are unplanned. It's important for girls who are planning to be sexually active to be educated about pregnancy prevention in an effort to reduce the chance of pregnancy. The CDC also reports that in 2009, the live birth rate for teen moms between the ages of 15 and 19 was 39.1 per 1,000.