Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Texans for Life Press For Continued Abstinence-Only Sex Education In Texas Schools

Legislation that would end the requirement that Texas public schools devote attention to abstinence-only sex education was before the House Public Education Committee on Tuesday for public comment. The bill, HB 741 by State Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio), would remove much of the controversial and unsound language from the Texas Education Code that places abstinence education above responsible instruction about sex education and sexually transmitted diseases.

Texas receives more federal abstinence-only education funding than any other state in the country, yet Texas has the nation’s third-highest teen pregnancy rate. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) a Texas teen gets pregnant every 10 minutes.

According to a report (PDF Full/Summary) released in February by the Texas Freedom Network (TFN) a majority of Texas schools use scare tactics and teach false information in their sex education classes. TFN's two-year study of education materials from 990 Texas school districts showed that about 94 percent of public schools use abstinence-only programs that usually pass moral judgments while giving inaccurate information on contraception and health screenings or ignoring the subjects altogether.

A recent, a large federal 2008 study, again confirms previous studies in its finding that abstinence eduction that tell teens to "just say no to sex" is not as effective as comprehensive sex education. "Taking a [abstinence] pledge doesn't seem to make any difference at all in any sexual behavior, but it does seem to make a difference in condom use and other forms of birth control that is quite striking," according to Janet E. Rosenbaum of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Ms. Rosenbaum's report, that appears in the January issue of the journal Pediatrics, highlights that:
Teenagers who receive abstinence-only sex education and pledge to remain virgins until marriage are just as likely to have premarital sex as those who do not promise abstinence and are significantly less likely to use condoms and other forms of birth control when they do, according to a large federal survey released last month.
Ignoring all facts and evidence that the "just say no" abstinence-only sex education approach does not stop or even reduce the numbers of teens who have sex, Texans for Life Coalition representative Kyleen Wright gave testimony before the House Public Education Committee on Tuesday making a "full court press" for the ideologue position that "abstinence-only" should be taught in Texas schools. It was Wright who successful lead the fight to keep any medically accurate information about contraception and disease prevention out of new Texas high school health textbooks in 2004.

The fact that abstinence-only sex education translates to a higher tax payer burden to support teen mothers and their babies was all but ignored. Texas Medicaid paid for 17,322 deliveries to teen mothers aged-13-17 last year at a cost of $41 million. That $41 million is on top of the many millions of dollars tax payers are spending on a government sponsored abstinence-only public school sex education program that is a proven failure!!

To read a live blog of the Texas House Public Education Committee meeting click here.

Kathy Miller's news conference
announcing the report
Kathy Miller, president of the Freedom Network’s Education Fund, said in a late February news conference announcing the groups Texas education report that, "we must stop burying our heads in the sand about high teen birth and STD rates and make sure young people get the medically accurate information they need to protect their health. . ." Texas continues to have one of the nation's highest teen pregnancy rates despite receiving more federal abstinence funding than any other state. (Watch TFN's "Sex Ed...Texas Style" videos)

No comments:

Post a Comment