Prather Pediatric and Allergy Center - Ask Doctor Brent

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Title: Abstinence Sex Education Is The Way To Go

Category: Child Care


Recently in Louisiana, Caddo Parish has been blasted by some teachers' unions for teaching abstinence education. Even our local parish which recommends abstinence got some criticism. Abstinence is the most guaranteed way of preventing pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS. It is in line with biblical teaching. In my opinion, it is the way to go and should be the cornerstone of any form of sex education taught to our youth. Last year in Texas an advisory panel recommended K to 12 comprehensive sex education tied in with school base clinics and family planning clinics available so that children could seek family planning without parental knowledge or consent. Before their plan was put in place, Texas legislators took a look at abstinence sex education as an alternative. One of the key things which moved many Texas legislators to give abstinence a try was an article written by a pediatrician, Dr. Tom Fitch, of San Antonio Texas. The title of his article "Reducing Teen Sexual Activity: a Summary for Policy Makers" summarized facts and recommendations for abstinence education. Many doctors throughout Texas supported his work and legislators in different parts of Texas decided to give it a try. The cost of abstinence education is one-hundredth the cost of comprehensive sex education. Nationally it would cost about 1.5 million dollars as opposed to over 100 million dollars.

One well designed program of abstinence sex education is called "Sex Respect" and is designed for children of different ages. It was chosen as a means of sex education in Fredricksberg, Texas, and was well accepted in a sixth grade pilot program. It is now being used at the junior and senior high level. The school board in Fredricksberg applauds the program and says they are glad that the youth in the community understand that when sexual opportunity presents itself many respected adults and doctors in the community expect them to say no.

Many studies have shown that fact-based sex education without values only increases promiscuity, teen pregnancy, abortion and sexually transmitted deceases including Aids. On the other hand, family centered abstinence sex education works to reduce teen pregnancy and the amount of teen sexuality by about 2/3. It is constitutional to promote abstinence in public schools and more public schools across this country are getting back to teaching values and common sense. Polls show that approximately 80% of parents would like their teens to be discouraged from having sexual intercourse. Most teens are not sexually active and are waiting to hear from respected authority figures that they are right in waiting till marriage. Abstinence education is truly a health issue and not simply a moral issue.

Over the past ten years I have tried to discuss healthy sexuality, abstinence and avoiding horrible sexually transmitted diseases at many schools, both public and private in Opelousas. I find the youths, from sixth grade to twelfth, very eager to learn the truth and to hear values and reasons why I recommend abstinence to them each time I speak to a class. I hope that all concerned parents and particularly physicians in our community will get behind abstinence sex education and encourage our local school board and private schools to use it more. I hope they will volunteer to speak to students and share why abstinence is important and give the young people who so need our guidance some values to live by. For more information on abstinence sex education contact:

National Association For Abstinence Education
6201 Leesburg Pike Suite 404
Fallschurch, Va. 22044

(703) 532-9459