Abstinence must be part of the message

Journal Sentinel Online March 15, 2008
Recent news about teen sexual activity and its aftermath has not been good. The teen birthrate in the United States rose in 2006 for the first time since 1991. In Wisconsin, following steady decline from 1993 to 2003, increasing numbers of high school youth report they have had sexual intercourse. And last week, a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that about one in four teenage girls is infected with a sexually transmitted disease.

….Results from a 2007 national survey of youth commissioned by the National Campaign suggest a need for abstinence-only education. First, a majority (60%) of sexually experienced youth wish they had waited longer. Contraceptive use does nothing to assuage the sense of regret that so many sexually experienced youth go through. Second, a sizable minority (44%) of youths believes the mixed message (“don’t have sex, but if you do . . . “) encourages teens to have sex. Shall we listen to these youths or not? Unlike the mandated education the Journal Sentinel advocates, abstinence-only education is a voluntary choice made by youth and their parents.