Friday, April 4, 2008

Abstinence-only plus birth control

I find the wording of this article describing Florida's new sex ed program fascinating:

A Sex-Ed Bill in Tallahassee requires schools to reach more than just saying “no” to sex.

The Healthy Teens Act would continue teaching abstinence-only, but include other methods of preventing pregnancy and STDs.

In other words, rather than just being "abstinence-plus", this program is "abstinence-only-plus."

I'm not sure if the article's wording is accidental, but it is encouraging. The idea that teaching birth control information in any way undercuts the message of abstinence --- which adolescents get loud and clear: does any teen think that adults approve of their having sex? --- is not supported by any research. It's encouraging to see that a sex ed curriculum can be thought of as "abstinence only" --- that is, the only endorsed option is abstinence --- and still give comprehensive and 100% accurate information about birth control, given that most of the students will have sex during high school.

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