Abstinence Programs: Do They Work? Essay

Do they Work?In 2005, nearly half of all high school students have had sexual intercourse. Plainly stating that abstinence programs do not work (USA Today). Abstinence programs were beneficial many years ago, but since they are ineffective in delaying teen pregnancy, then teen pregnancy rate has increased. Abstinence programs teach the “no sex until marriage” clause, but they don’t teach teens about birth control and the consequences of having sex at before they’ve matured.

Although many studies argue that abstinence programs are educational and beneficial, other studies will show that they don’t delay teen sex, they don’t prevent the spread of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), and are a waste of taxpayers’ money. The birth rate has increased by over 50% and increasing every day. Television and the Internet are filled with sex and teens are exposed to it on a daily basis.Teens and AbstinenceEveryone has heard stories about how abstinence programs teach the “no sex til marriage” clause but does it really work to just tell teens not to have sex without them knowing the consequences and responsibilities that come along with having sex? For Instance, most abstinence programs are ineffective due to religion. Classes in New York didn’t preach saving sex until marriage or disparage condom use (New York Times 13).

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Many studies argue that abstinence programs actually work. Pre-marital-abstinence eliminates sexually-transmitted diseases, reduces heart-ache, eliminates unmarried pregnancies, is in accordance with the Bible, and leads to a better overall life (Washington Post).The Bible frowns upon pre-marital sex as well. It says: Thou shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). Another bible verse that frowns upon pre-marital sex says we should “flee from sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does outside his body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body (1 Corinthians 6:18-19). Honestly, some people don’t care about how wrong pre-marital sex is.

Abstinence programs in this generation today aren’t effective in delaying teen sex because the birth rate is increasing. Sexually active teens that don’t use birth control have a 90% chance of getting pregnant within a year (Guttmacher Institute). Most teens refuse to use birth control for their own personal reasons. Teens use birth control to opt out of having protected sex” (Center for reproductive Rights 80). There is a high percentage rate of teens that actually use condoms during sex. 74% of females used contraception the first time they had sex (Guttmacher Institute). The percentage of teens that used more than one form of contraception is very low.

Approximately 25% of sexually active teens use 2 methods of birth control during sex (Guttmacher Institute). The rate of teens that use condoms and still get pregnant is very low. During the first year of “typical use”, 20 of teens under the age of 18 using condoms for contraception get pregnant within one year (Abstinence Programs 75). It proves that abstinence programs reach teens that are not easily influenced by sex.

Diseases and TeensTeens end up getting sexually transmitted diseases because they are unaware of the consequences of unprotected sex. No abstinence-only program affected the incidence of unprotected vaginal sex (The Australian). Annually 3 million teenagers contract STDs from their partner (Robert Rector). Teens who have early sex not only suffer from STDs, they also have emotional and physical damage. Research shows that young people who become sexually active are not only vulnerable to STDs, but also likely to experience emotional and psychological injuries, difficulties with marriage, and are most likely to be involved in high-risked behaviors (Robert Rector).

Teens that have unprotected sex have a higher risk of HIV/AIDS, Herpes, and HPV, which are incurable diseases (Robert Rector). Even with abstinence programs, the STD rate is still increasing. A tiny, extremist minority in Congress is ensuring that the rate of teenage pregnancy and STDs remains unnaturally high (Alterman, Eric and Zornick). People who are affected with a disease often end up having low self esteem. Exactly 80% of those who had an STD felt “less confident” and “less desirable sexually” (Medical Institute for Sexual Health). Because Is it a waste of taxpayers’ money?Many taxpayers’ are complaining that abstinence programs are ineffective in teaching what they say they would teach teens. Members of Congress cited government statistics showing 1 in 4 U.

S. teenage girls have a STD and 30% of U.S. girls become pregnant before the age of 20 years old (Dunham).Taxpayers want to have their money well spent on abstinence but the studies are showing otherwise. Scarce public dollars could be better spent on programs that already have been proven to achieve delays in sexual activity of any duration, rather than on programs that stress abstinence until marriage (Dailard). Stating that the funding for abstinence programs is useless because teen are going to do what they want to do whether there are abstinence programs or not because of the environment they are raised in or exposed to.

Abstinence programs would be more effective if they actually explained to teens the consequences of sex and the responsibilities that come along with it. Since they aren’t doing that, teens are having unprotected sex, getting pregnant, and having abortions because they’re not ready to have children and handle the responsibility of being a parent. The programs should have a saying, “If you’re not ready to be a parent, then wrap it up.” If more teens lived by that philosophy, there wouldn’t be many young grandparents and young mothers and fathers.


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