I recently noted that the county in which I live decided to provide "abstinence plus" sex education to children in high school. I said I thought this was a step in the right direction, especially when one considers that many school districts in Mississippi do not offer any form of sex education at all. However, I said that I thought younger children in our state needed sex education too. After all, Mississippi has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the U.S. The science is quite clear that abstinence only does not work.
Unfortunately, this shift from abstinence only to reality-based sex education is moving at a glacial pace in Mississippi. Most school districts appear to be ignoring a 2011 law requiring schools to offer some form of sex education. Instead, they have committed themselves to teaching ineffective abstinence only programs.
I suppose one could conceivably argue that parents have some sort of right to prevent their children from being taught fact-based information, but I don't buy it. Abstinence only hurts all of us through increased health care and social welfare costs. Regardless of where one comes down on the question of reproductive freedom, it would seem that we could all agree that reducing unwanted pregnancies would be a positive step.
This is an important example of the high costs of superstition.
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