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Contraceptives are not just for adults

A call for change in sex education to be provided by schools for the benefit of students

Amanda Hall, Reporter

PrintLet’s get this out of the way: teens have sex.

In a 2013 survey, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 47 percent of high school students have had sex at least once. According to the CDC, Texas has higher rates of teens who report they’ve had sexual intercourse, at 52 percent. Recently in the news, sex education has been under the nation’s scrutiny. I support sex education reform and making changes towards methods that have been proven to work. Teens and adults will have sex with or without abstinence-only sex education, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Instead of pretending that teens and young adults don’t have sex, we need to be educating them on the risks associated with sex and ways they can protect themselves, emotionally and physically.

Unplanned pregnancies are preventable with proper contraceptive sex education and  easier access to contraceptives. I support the changes we may see with President Obama’s new budget plan for 2017. In the 2017 budget, Obama has removed all federal funding for abstinence-only sex education in schools by introducing a cut to the $10 million grant that the Department of Health and Human Services uses to support abstinence-only sex education, according to New York Times. While some Texas schools are slowly making changes from abstinence-only to abstinence-plus contraceptive sex education, it cannot come soon enough.

In fact, according to The Dallas Morning News, Dallas has higher rates of teen pregnancies when compared to national statistics. It’s alarming, considering the negative impacts raising a child can have on a teenager. According to the National Conference of State Legislature, 60 percent of teenage mothers do not finish high school. Without a high school diploma, the chances of making an income large enough  to survive on are slim.

College students have unprotected sex as well. In spring 2015, 46 percent of undergraduate college students reported having sexual intercourse in the last three months, according to the American College Health Association. Of the students who reported having vaginal intercourse, 47 percent said they did not use a form of birth control, “didn’t know,” or it was not applicable. Why are so many sexually active college students not using contraceptives? It could possibly be because they did not receive quality education about contraceptives in high school.

Not only has effective contraceptive sex education lowered unplanned pregnancies, it has also lowered sexually transmitted diseases in teens. In 2013, nearly 10 million individuals ages 13-24, were diagnosed with HIV, according to the CDC. While HIV treatment has improved in recent years, a 13-year-old should not have to worry about a life threatening illness that is completely preventable with something as simple as a condom. While hearing a 13-year-old is having sex may be uncomfortable, it is something we as a society need to face.

I am glad that we are moving in the direction of contraceptive sex education in schools, but I would like to see birth control more readily available. What’s the point of contraceptive sex education if students don’t use it? Making birth control free and easily accessible for high school and college students doesn’t have to mean that sexual activities are condoned; it’s a matter of safety. On that note, the Student Health Center on campus has free condoms available to students if you ask the front desk. 

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