Responsible Sex Education
The Women’s Health and Family Planning Association of Texas (WHFPT) believes that sexuality is an integral part of a healthy life and encompasses an individual’s intellectual, spiritual, emotional and biological characteristics, as well as family, cultural and religious values. WHFPT supports responsible sex education that encourages abstinence, but that also provides accurate information on how to avoid unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases and infections. Responsible sex education provides young adults with the necessary skills and correct information, enabling them to make healthy choices about their sexuality throughout their lives.
WHFPT advocates for responsible sex education
The primary goal of sex education is the promotion of sexual health and the recognition that sexuality education is a lifeling process of acquiring accurate information and forming attitudes, beliefs and values about identity, relationships and intimacy. WHFPT believes that responsible sex education programs for individuals of all ages must emphasize the importance of making informed, responsible choices that are consistent with each individual’s personal values.
Responsible sex education should:
- involve parents in a meaningful way and help foster better communications between parents and children.
- encourage and value a person’s right to choose abstinence.
- provide scientifically accurate, age-appropriate, up-to-date, and complete information.
- teach critical thinking and analytical skills on how to resist peer pressure.
- recognize and value diversity.
- treat all topics in a balanced way.
- be free of gender or racial bias.
In the United States, responsible sex education has the support of a majority of the public including Texans. Almost 9 in 10 parents want their children to have it. Yet, only 5% of children in the United States receive medically adequate sex education.1
Such a small number of children receiving medically accurate sex education may help explain why the United States has the highest rates of unintended pregnancy, especially among teens, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the industrialized world. STI rates in the U.S are 50-100 times higher than other industrialized nations.2
Consider the facts
- In 2005, Texas ranked 4th nationally in teenage pregnancy rates, with 88 pregnancies annually per 1,000 women ages 15-19.3
- In 2005, Texas ranked 45th in states efforts to help women avoid unintended pregnancies.4
- In 2007, 53% of Texas high school students had had sex at least once; 55% of high school females and 51% of males.5
- Of the 18.9 million new cases of STIs each year, 9.1 million (48%) occur among 15–24-year-olds.6
- In 2007, Texas ranked 20th in the nation for reported cases of chlamydia and 15th for gonnorrhea.7
1.(1996 National Guidelines, Task Force, Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, 2nd edition)
2. (November, 1996, U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Division of STD Prevention, The Challenge of STD Prevention in the United States)
3. Kost, K., Henshaw, S., & Carlin, L. (2010). U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions: National and State Trends and Trends by Race and Ethnicity. (http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/USTPtrends.pdf)
4. 2006 In Brief series, Guttmacher Institute: Contraception Counts: Ranking State Efforts (http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/2006/02/28/IB2006n1.pdf)
5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008). Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance survey United States, 2007. (www.cdc.gov)
6. January, 2010, Guttmacher Institute: Facts on American Teens’ Sexual and Reproductive Health (http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/FB-ATSRH.html)
7. CDC Report: National Center for HIV/AIDS, Vital hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Texas 2008 Profile (http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats08/app-interpret.htm)
Access to responsible sex education does not increase sexual activity among teens. (No Easy Answers: Research Findings on Programs to Reduce Teen Pregnancy, Douglas Kirby, Ph.D; National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 1997)