Part 1: “Vote No on Abstinence”

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This is one of four blog posts in a series on abstinence vs. comprehensive sex education.

See the others here: Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

 

As many people have been focusing on the political realm here in Greensboro recently—which is important, and will likely have an impact on the future of our community—something else has been brooding under the surface. It’s been there for years, never fully dealt with, and never really discussed in the public sphere.

What is it? The Great Debate about Abstinence Education vs. Comprehensive Sex Education. In this two-part blog, I’m going to discuss some aspects of the debate.

Which is better?

Advocates for Comprehensive Sex Ed. (CSE) say “Vote no on abstinence” because it’s allegedly not as effective as comprehensive sex education, and even potentially harmful.¹ That’s a serious allegation! They also tout that public opinion, as well as most political leaders, agree.

But are they right? Because, Abstinence Education (AE) advocates take the same approach. They say abstinence programs work, using statistical studies to back up their claims. They also explain how most parents and teens support abstinence education programs, as well as politicians who find it valuable to continue funding them.²

Who is right about abstinence?

Clearly, it’s not an easy task to figure out who makes the more persuasive argument. And I’m not going to take the time to analyze each view here; there’s simply more information than I’d like to cover! I would encourage you to personally check into the resources available from both sides of the aisle.

I will, however, lay all my cards on the table. As you may guess, I’m in favor of abstinence-based education. Before you stop listening (either because you agree with me, and start having the imaginary argument with dissenters in your head; or because you disagree, and think I’m some right-wing crazy who makes all my decisions based on religious conviction), let me explain why. There is a lot of confusion about AE from both supporters and opponents, and I’d like to clear some of it up, if I can.

I’m going to begin the blog next week by explaining some general misunderstandings about AE, and finish by explaining why I personally see Abstinence Education as the most effective, useful, and common sense method of sexual education available.

 

 1. Advocates for Youth website, http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/publications/1487 accessed July 16, 2014.

 2. National Abstinence Education Association, “Abstinence Works: Sexual RiskAvoidance (SRA) Abstinence Education Programs Demonstrating Improved Teen Outcomes” publication, ed. July 2013, http://www.thenaea.org/docs/Abstinence_Works.pdf accessed July 16, 2014.

 

Carter Mundy is the Outreach Director at Greensboro Pregnancy Care Center. He enjoys spending time with his wife, new daughter, and the family dog. He also loves his church family, Mercy Hill Church, and serves as a community group leader.

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