The Controversy Over Abstinence-Only Sex Education Programs

In this paper we will attempt to discuss the political controversy over abstinence-only sex education programs in our schools. Teen pregnancy and childbearing bring substantial social and economic costs through immediate and long-term impacts on teen parents and their children. The advantages (which there aren’t any) and disadvantages, and the effect it has on the society in a whole. In a nut shell we are talking about teenage pregnancy.

I quote from the CDC (centers for disease control and prevention) “Evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs typically address specific protective factors on the basis of knowledge, skills, beliefs, or attitudes related to teen pregnancy.

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  1. Knowledge of sexual issues, HIV, other STDs, and pregnancy (including methods of prevention).
  2. Perception of HIV risk.
  3. Personal values about sex and abstinence.
  4. Attitudes toward condoms (pro and con).
  5. Perception of peer norms and behavior about sex.
  6. Individual ability to refuse sex and to use condoms.
  7. Intent to abstain from sex or limit number of partners.
  8. Communication with parents or other adults about sex, condoms, and contraception.
  9. Individual ability to avoid HIV/STD risk and risk behaviors.
  10. Avoidance of places and situations that might lead to sex.
  11. Intent to use a condom.

Teen pregnancy is indeed a social issue it not only affect the families but it also affects the teens. Years ago, and I am talking from experience in some families sex was considered taboo. Which means it was not a subject that was freely talked about.

To my recollection there was no contraception spoke of and nor sex education classes were being given in the schools. Only if and when someone got pregnant maybe something was said. There was also times when a teenage female got pregnant the parent raised the child as her own. The child was kept at home and was not seen until after the birth and far as anyone knew she was at home helping to bring in the harvest. Because in those days it was nothing new to keep the older kids out of school to help with the chores during harvest time.

When we see a pregnant teenager raising a child one may think they were raped or just to young to have a child. When in fact, it is a social issue, that they were exposed to in their society, the society of the home, community and school. There are different reasons why females, young females have sex and children out of wedlock. The facts are obvious teenage females are, highly influenced by several social issues, but those that lack strong parental guidance, sex education, and positive mass media are more than likely to have premarital sex.

I quote “Teen Pregnancy on the Rise” Sipokazi Maposa says that in developing countries, teenage pregnancies are associated with many social issues, lower educational levels, higher rates of poverty and not strong parental guidance in the teenage life. ” There is a lack of communication through the child and the parents and that is one of the primary reasons for teen pregnancy. Statistics show that children without parental guidance are more subject to become parents a young age.

To a teenager a child provides positive regard (love), affection and fulfills the social loss (the attention they would otherwise receive from their parents). There are different ways of preventing teen pregnancy. One is abstinence which means to refrain from having sexual intercourse. If we as parents spend more time talking to our teenager and being accessible to them then we would know when and if they are considering sex. It is pertinent in a child’s life to feel comfortable about talking to us.

In this generation we as parents have become our children best friend instead of parent and when this happen we lose contact and control of the situation. We must practice what we preach so that when we have these discussion with our teens they will take us seriously and think twice about having premarital sex. When you have an absentee parent we have no structure. I feel we should also let our teenagers know that it is ok to speak with someone they trust if they feel they can’t come to us.

In chapter 8 (sexuality and society, pg. 00) it states that teenagers may be biologically mature enough (means their body looks mature) to conceive but they are in actuality not mature enough in the mind to physically, emotionally or mature to take on the responsibility of being a parent. And having children at a young age causes teenagers (male or female) to quit school and end up in poverty. Through my research I learned teenagers who become pregnant view pregnancy as a way to form or connect with others and are less likely to be prepared to handle the consequences. Therefore, it is sometimes left up to the parent to raise and take care of the child.

And these observations offer some insight into how to prevent teen pregnancies, researchers say in a paper published in the current issue of Pediatrics. And I quote: “we need to help teenagers identify ways to connect with others in life besides motherhood,” says lead author Cynthia Rosengard, PhD, MPH, a researcher in internal medicine at Rhode Island Hospital and an assistant professor of medicine at Brown Medical School. “if those connections are lacking in a teen-ager’s life, that something we all need to look at” whether we’re parents, teachers or physicians. ”

In my opinion teenagers, sometimes engage in sex because of peer pressure. In conclusion here are some pros and cons of the advantages and disadvantages of teen pregnancy. Please bear in mind there are really no reason or explanation for teen pregnancy. Parents please be a parent to your child not a best friend and listen when they want to talk about things that are important, even though it may be embarrassing to you it is a serious topic to them. Here is a list of pros of teen pregnancy:

  1. Teenage bodies are strong and healthy and are most capable of successfully completing a pregnancy.
  2. Focus on their love of infants.
  3. Having someone to love and be loved by.
  4. Closer in age with their child.
  5. Having more family/partner support at this time in their lives.
  6. Requires them to acquire maturity.
  7. Keeping them from engaging in risky/unwise behaviors.
  8. Some women wait to long and then they can’t have children.
  9. Their bodies haven’t been exposed to many negative environmental influence.
  10. Just because they are pregnant doesn’t mean they have to keep the baby.

They can let the child be adopted. Here is a list of cons of teenage pregnancy:

  1. Children of teenage mothers frequently live in poverty.
  2. Teen mothers are less likely to obtain the education they need to get a good job.
  3. Only 40% of teen mothers graduate from high school, compared to 75% of female teens of similar socioeconomic status who are not mothers.
  4. Pregnant women under age twenty-one “who had abortions had higher levels of subsequent educational achievement than those who became pregnant but did not have abortions” In other words, it is more beneficial to teens to have an abortion than to carry a pregnancy to full term.
  5. Poverty is usually a life consequence of teen pregnancy.
  6. Children of teenage mothers frequently have lower birth weights, increasing the risk of infant death, blindness, deafness, chronic respiratory problems, mental retardation, mental illness and cerebral palsy.
  7. Children of teen mothers are more likely to be abused and neglected and to perform poorly in school.
  8. The sons of teenage mothers are 13% more likely to end up in prison and that the daughters of teen mothers are 22% more likely to become teen mothers themselves.
  9. Teenage mothers have a significantly higher risk of living in poverty and receiving public assistance than their counterparts who do not have children.
  10. In 2004 that the total public cost of teenage childbearing was $9. 1 billion a year.


  1. Busn N, 4th Edition, Kelly and McGowan, copyright 2012 www. cdc. gov. teenpregnancy/aboutteen www. emaxhealth. com 2005-2012 [email protected]. com
  2. www. livestrong. com/article/279393
  3. www. proconlists. com/list/family-parenting/what-are-the-advantages-and-disadvantagesofteenpregnancy
  4. www. teenpregnancy. com

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The Controversy Over Abstinence-Only Sex Education Programs. (2017, Jan 03). Retrieved from