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Abstinence Only vs. Comprehensive Education in Teen Pregnancy - Essay Example

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Across the US the escalation of high rates of teen pregnancy is primarily due to the sex education laws and policies that do not clearly spell out what teenagers throughout the nation should and should not be taught. The confusion between the two policies Abstinence only and…
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Abstinence Only vs. Comprehensive Education in Teen Pregnancy
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NURSING NURSING Abstinence Only vs. Comprehensive Education in Teen Pregnancy Synthesis Across the US the escalation of high rates of teen pregnancy is primarily due to the sex education laws and policies that do not clearly spell out what teenagers throughout the nation should and should not be taught. The confusion between the two policies Abstinence only and Comprehensive Education in Teen Pregnancy has left many teenagers and sex education educators with bewilderment of not knowing which way to follow. The federal government seems to be overwhelmed with the two policies, for instance regardless of expiry of the abstinence only program in 2009, the government still went ahead and funded the same program across all states for further five years (Stanger-Hall and Hall, 2011).
According to studies that were aimed at providing scientific evidence for evaluation and decision making with regard to preventing teenage pregnancy for the whole nation; it was concluded by specialists that the sex education in teen pregnancy approach is efficient and effective in curbing teenage pregnancy as compared to abstinence only. The relationship between sex education, teen pregnancy and birth rates need to be taught to the teens if the situation is to be salvaged (Stanger-Hall and Hall, 2011). Consequently, other critical influences like socio-economic status, education, cultural activities, and access to contraceptives through Medicaid waivers should be critically analyzed. However, this is not taken into consideration across the nation; the emphasis are on abstinence laws rather than sex education. The teen pregnancy, abortion and birth data significantly shows that higher levels of abstinence education strongly culminates into higher levels of abstinence character hence resulting into decreased pregnancies among teenagers (Stanger-Hall and Hall, 2011).
In the same line of argument, other factors as earlier mentioned impact severely on teenage pregnancy. For instance educational attainment, Ethnic composition, and socio-economic status have a hand in either alleviating or aggravating the situation. Medicaid waivers for family planning have been found to significantly reduce unplanned pregnancies especially among low income women and among teenagers (Stanger-Hall and Hall, 2011).
Future Direction
Through comprehensive research and analysis it has been established that although elaborate sex education in the US has resulted in lower teen pregnancy rates, these rates are still high as compared to teen pregnancy levels in Europe. This is mainly associated with poor laws and policies that do not advocate for sex and STD education to be taught in all schools but only provide guidelines across the country. By the year 2011 only 20 states had compulsory sex education, while 32 states had compulsory HIV education in their schools (Stanger-Hall and Hall, 2011). Additionally, regardless of some states having comprehensive sex education laws and policies, the federal government only funded abstinence only program. The major significant step towards reducing teen pregnancy would be ensuring that all states initiate the comprehensive sex education coupled with abstinence as a coveted character to be taught in both public and private schools (Stanger-Hall and Hall, 2011). Furthermore, the use of experts with specialized sex education will tremendously help in lowering these rates. To make the subject understandable to many teens sex education should be split into coordinated social studies units like ethics, behavior and decision making, and planning for the future. Consequently, spicing it up by including a science component like reproductive biology and biology of STDs, together with pregnancy and STD prevention will effectively reduce the menace (Stanger-Hall and Hall, 2011).
Given the above observations, parents, teachers, and policy makers should take it as their prerogative to make sure that teenagers have the capacity to make educated reproductive and sexual health decisions, and teen pregnancies and STD levels in US can be decreased to and beyond the levels of other developed countries. They should also note that sexuality trends are maintained across teenage-hood to adulthood. In order to meet these tight goals, sex education should be aligned and integrated with the National Science Standards for US middle and high school. Further, Precaution Adoption Process that is advocated by the National Institute of health should be used as it gives guidelines for communication and exchanging ideas between scientists, educators, and sex education researchers thus can serve as a reference for gauging the progress in sex education. Consequently, is a communication tool between sex education trainers with their students. The primary initiative for the Americans is to enlighten American teens about Pregnancy and STDs and how they can be prevented. Help teens acquire informed decision making techniques whereas providing relevant knowledge, and understanding with regard to teenage pregnancy and STDs.
Reference
Stanger-Hall, K.F., and Hall, D.W (2011) Abstinence-Only Education and Teen Pregnancy Rates: Why We Need Comprehensive Sex Education in the U.S. Retrieved on 15/08/2012, From; www.plosone.org Read More
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