Social, Political and Cultural According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), in 2010 9.3% of births in the United States were from teenage mothers, and 20.1% were unmarried. Some school systems do not require some type of sex education, whether it is Comprehensive Sex Education or Abstinence only (AOE). Most states with the highest teen pregnancy rate do not require sex education. The Practice of AOE is politically and culturally motivated. In today’s present state socially this practice of AOE is unrealistic. Since sexual exploration can affect a child’s entire life, each state should require their schools to teach Comprehensive Sex Education instead of the general teachings of AOE.
Abstinence is not engaging in sexual intercourse. AOE is usually the teaching standard of most schools. According to Abstinence-Only vs. Comprehensive Sex Education “Abstinence Education includes discussion of values, character building, and in some cases refusal skills.” This is uncommon though because then AOE will be acknowledging that it’s a possibility that these teenagers could have sex. AOE does not each about contraception, or safe sex. AOE just teaches that it’s the only way to not get HIV, STD/STIs and pregnancy. There are many supports of AOE despite its flaws. John Rustin director of North Carolina Family Policy Council emphasizes that “North Carolina public schools have a no-tolerance policy when it comes to tobacco, alcohol and drug use. Our question is why in the world we wouldn’t take a different position when it comes to sex”
“Preventing teen pregnancy is generally considered a priority among policymakers and the public because of its high economic, social, and health cost for teen parents and their families” (Soloman-Fears). According to the Congressional Research Service it cost about eleven million dollars a year to cover teen pregnancy expenses. This money is spent in programs like welfare benefits, public healthcare, and even some incarceration cost. So the federal government has a vested interest in keeping teen pregnancy down. The federal government started a program called Adolescent Family Life (AFL). This program was established in 1981. Carmen Soloman-Fears a specialist in Social Policy believes that “It was created to support demonstration projects that provide comprehensive an innovative health, education, and social services to pregnant and parenting adolescents, their infants, male partners and their families. From 1998 to 2009, federal teen pregnancy prevention effects in the AFL program and in general relied heavily on using abstinence only education as their primary tool.” This program gave assistance to every aspect of adolescent sex. From the AOE if they were not already sexually active, how to say no when pressured, and being prepared and safe if they were sexually active. Also if they got pregnant, then how to cope with having a child. The AFL started receiving grant money for Title V, so the AFL was shifted into the direction of only giving participants AOE education.
Title V Abstinence Education is a federally funded program. This program was a drastic change from AFL programs that taught pregnancy prevention and AOE. Title V was an AOE or nothing type of program. Kohler and others point out “to receive federal Title V funding, a sex education program must have as it exclusive purpose teaching the social, psychological, and health gains to be realized by abstaining from sexual activities”. Also abstinence is the expected standards for school age children (Kohler). Abstinence teaches monogamy and how children born out of wedlock have problems in the long run, physically, emotionally and psychologically. This funding is usually given where low- income kids are prominent. Each State has to apply for funds for each program that needs the assistance of Title V. This program makes sure that AOE is taught to be the only way to prevent pregnancy out of wedlock, Sexually