Editorial: Is High School Sex Ed Preparing Our Students?

Recently, YSUnity has posted flyers for its event, Sex Ed for College Dummies. The event will feature Planned Parenthood, who will hold a Q&A session and offer free condoms and confidential sexually transmitted infections (STI) testing. In a time where sex education is still mostly taboo, it is safe to say that an event like this discussing one of the fundamentals of life is much needed.

Under the Trump administration, however, the topic of sex education is becoming even more frowned upon and forbidden.

According to the Washington Post, the Trump administration plans to cut funding to the evidence-based Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program. The program, created under the Obama administration in 2010, gives funding to organizations working to prevent teen pregnancy and STIs across the United States by giving comprehensive sex education to teens. Instead, the current administration added new funding for abstinence based programs, totaling $90 million.

According to Forbes, an estimated one in four American women become pregnant as teenagers and cost U.S. taxpayers at least $9 billion a year. Currently, teenage pregnancy in the U.S. is at an all-time low, declining 41 percent since 2010 alone. Why then, is the Trump administration promoting abstinence-only programs?

In an observation by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), findings show that there is no conclusive evidence proving that abstinence-based programs helped young people prolong waiting for sexual activity or change their behaviors. Comprehensive programs, in contrast, showed favorable effects in sexual initiation, number of sex partners, use of protection, STIs, pregnancy and rate of sexual activity and unprotected sex.

There are also studies showing that states with abstinence-based programs or not requiring sex education have a higher rate of teen pregnancy. States like Texas, New Mexico and Mississippi all share such standards and harbor the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the U.S.

With that being said, comprehensive sex education should be a standard part of our education. YSUnity’s initiative to bring sex ed to campus is statistically beneficial, and we’re not alone. Other colleges such as Columbia University and the University of Florida have brought sex education to their campuses with positive results. The Trump administration should stop focusing on ineffective methods and instead invest in ways that are proven to help our youth.