When I was in college, a friend learned that her 12-year-old cousin impregnated his 13-year-old girlfriend. When I was 12-13 I could barely even make eye contact with a boy; the idea of sex could not have been further my mind. I was still embarrassed if people kissed on television when I was watching with my parents. I was naïve, as children that age should be. My children are nearly that age now. Every day I wish for my children to be like I was, and not like my friend’s cousin. But we still have “the talk”. It is embarrassing for everyone, but it must be done.
A few weeks ago I read that my state senate passed a bill requiring that ND sex education teach only one method- abstinence. (http://www.wday.com/event/article/id/45331/). Even now, several weeks later, I am disgusted by this news.
Do these people in the Senate really think an abstinence-only education plan is truly going to stop kids from choosing to have sex? Well, obviously they do because they passed the bill. Let’s be honest with ourselves here. Teenagers are having sex, whether we want them to or not. I agree that educating kids about abstinence is important. But so is safety. They need to understand the consequences of the things they do, and they need to know how to protect themselves if they make the decision to have sex.
Please don’t misunderstand. I am not an advocate of teen sex. I am terrified for my kids to get older, because the time will come when they think they’re ready for sex. I hope with all my heart that they choose to abstain from sex for as long as possible. But I also hope that when they do become sexually active, they are well informed and take all the necessary steps to be as safe as they possibly can.
Cars are dangerous too. But do we teach our kids that the only way to be safe is not to drive? No! We do what we can to teach them how to drive safely, and how to protect themselves from others on the road who are not safe. Now obviously I recognize that driving a car and teen sex are not the same, but my message is the same – education is essential. You cannot prevent teen pregnancy by pretending it doesn’t exist, especially when the media is doing its very best to glamorize it with shows like “Teen Mom” & “16 and Pregnant.”
To put the entire burden of sex education on the parents is irresponsible, because it is clear that some parents are simply not willing or able to have this conversation with their kids.
Every single person who voted for this bill should be ashamed.
For those who wish to read the bill in question: http://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/62-2011/documents/11-0467-01000.pdf [note: this is not the final version of the document; since this blog was posted the document has been revised several times. The most current version, as of 5/14/2011 is: http://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/62-2011/documents/11-0467-06000.pdf]