Protecting Our Teens Essay

Submitted By ChristinaCerini1
Words: 996
Pages: 4

Protecting Our Teens

“In 2011, a total of 329,797 babies were born to women aged 15-19 years” (Martinez). In addition to these teen pregnancies “there are an estimated 40,000 new HIV infections every year” (Rodgers 4) in America “with one-quarter of them occurring in youth under the age of 25.”(4) Based on these numbers it is obvious that teenagers across America are having unprotected sexual intercourse. Although it is not ideal, it is happening. To assist in reducing these numbers, teens need to be able to, without parental consent, obtain sexual education in school that not only educates them on abstinence but also the variety of contraceptives available. Teens also need to have easily accessible contraceptives at school that a staffed medical professional of the school can administer confidentially without first needing parental consent. At the age of 15 I became sexually active. This was not something that I wanted to confide in my parents about because I knew that they would find it unacceptable and be disappointed. I did not have any other adult to talk to regarding birth control and no means of accessing it without first going to my parents. I didn’t have the resources to know that there were some free clinics available in certain areas that could have provided me with information and contraceptives. Even if I had been aware of these clinics, I did not have the means of transportation to get to a clinic. As a result of having unprotected sex, I became pregnant. This as well was something that I did not want to go to my parents with and so they did not become aware of my pregnancy until I was in my fourth month of pregnancy. If I had been able to confide in a neutral adult at school that could have provided me with resources and contraceptives without the embarrassment, the outcome of my actions may have been different. Some might say that teens are not mature enough to make a decision to take birth control without parental guidance. Some might say that providing teens with information and access to contraceptives is the equivalent to “granting permission” to have intercourse at a young age. Regardless of whether or not teens are mature enough to make the decision to have intercourse or take contraceptives, half of our teens are still having intercourse. According to E. James Lieberman, M.D. and Karen Lieberman Troccoli, M.P.H. in “Like It Is: A Teen Sex Guide”, “About half of all teenagers – 55 percent of men and 50 percent of women – have intercourse before the age of 20.” (1) Being that the majority of teenagers are not mature enough to have intercourse but continue to do so should be reason enough as to why birth control and information should be easily accessible. Having information on contraception and access to contraceptives readily available at school would help teens receive the proper education and better prepare them for intercourse if they are contemplating it. As stated on the website, in Minnesota "You do not need your parents' permission to participate in sexuality education or HIV/AIDS education classes. But your parents are given the opportunity to review content and can take you out of the classes if they object to what is being taught." Parents should not have the option of taking a teen out of these education classes. Each individual teen should be given the opportunity to participate and be educated. The option to attend the class should be on each individual teen if they feel they are ready. Whether a parent is ready for their teen to learn about sexual education or not will not prevent their teen from trying to find the information on their own which could be inaccurate. There are several very important reasons to have access to contraceptives at school available to students that can be administered by a professional. As stated on the website "Abstinence must be covered in class as the only completely effective