The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released their study Tuesday showing that the U.S. teen birth rate dropped 9 percent from 2009 to 2010, reaching a historic low of 34.3 births per 1,000 teens aged 15 to 19. It attributed the drop to several factors, including strong pregnancy-prevention messages aimed at teens and increased use of contraception.
This is the lowest national rate for teen births since the Centers for Disease Control began tracking it in 1940, and CDC officials attributed the decline to pregnancy prevention efforts. Other reports show that teenagers are having less sex and using contraception more often. Studies have backed this up. Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle found that teenagers who received some type of comprehensive sex education were 60 percent less likely to get pregnant or get someone else pregnant. And in 2007, a federal report showed that abstinence-only programs had “no impacts on rates of sexual abstinence.”
Mississippi has the highest teen pregnancy rate at more than 60 percent above the U.S. average and does not require sex education in schools, but when it is taught, abstinence-only education is the state standard. New Mexico, which has the second highest teen birth rate, does not require sex ed and has no requirements on what should be included when it is taught.
On the reverse end of the "Sex Education" spectrum is New Hampshire - NH has the lowest teen pregnancy rate and requires comprehensive sex education in schools that includes abstinence and information about condoms and contraception.
So what do all these pesky things known as "Facts" have to do with my statement that Senator Mary Lazich is moving Wisconsin backwards you ask...
...Senator Lazich authored the recent bill in Wiscosin that mandates Abstinence-first "sex ed" in all school districts, but does not require the teaching of contraception or body image - in essence, totally dismantling Jim Doyle's "Healthy Youth Act" which mandated comprehensive sex education in Wisconsin public schools.
Great, now because Senator Lazich and the GOP write bills with their religious beliefs first and any common sense they have lagging far behind, we have just put our children at risk for not being properly educated about their sexual well-being. Within a couple of years we will surely backtrack and join the ranks of Mississippi and New Mexico in this sad category because our kids are getting answers about sex from their older siblings, MTV, the internet and each other - instead of getting actual scientific-based answers from educated health professionals and teachers.
The conservatives will have you believe that teaching teens about contraception gives them a license to have sex . . . Does this mean that teaching people how to properly and safely handle a gun is a license to kill? Of course not, right NRA!
We can use the same logic when it comes to teaching about the holocaust. Does it give a teen a license to commit genocide because we taught them about the horrors of the Nazi death camps? Of course not. Does it give a teen a license to create an atomic bomb in their garage because we teach them chemistry? Of course not. Teaching teens about body image, sexuality, abstinence and contraception is completely logical, it is not a license to screw your classmate - but now the kids are all getting screwed - screwed out of an honest education.
Thanks Senator Lazich, our kids will soon be more dumber, more sexually oblivious, confused and possibly pregnant (gee, how did that happen?) all because of your over-reaching, back-wooded, regressive and irresponsible bill.
I urge all parents to contact their local school boards and demand that Comprehensive Sex Education continue to be taught in our middle schools and high schools - let's not short change them just because Senator Lazich is shorts-sighted and closed-minded.
p.s. I warned my readers about this bill months ago when Lazich first started passing it around the Senate to see who was stupid enough to back it. In fact this bill was the subject of my first real blog posting on the patch ~