After being relatively low in the past two decades, teen birth rates in the United States have been rising upwards in the past few years, having a 5 percent increase from 2005 to 2007 alone (Clemmitt). Many believe that the causes for teen birth rates up rises are due to educating teens with sex-education programs that only encourage abstinence until marriage as its primarily focus and due to a drop-off in contraception use in teens.
Since the year 2009, when more than 410,000 teen births between the ages of 15 to 19 were reported, (Smith) the United States has implanted a sex-education program among teens in high school that only educates them in obtaining abstinence until marriage as a means of reducing teen birth rates. These federally funded programs are greatly supported by conservative religious groups and parents due to them believing that a teen is less likely to get pregnant or contact an STD if they are advised to maintain abstinence rather than to be informed of the precautions to take to avoid disease and pregnancy. They think that, “When one spends a lot of time instructing teens on all the various paraphernalia for protecting themselves, the message is that it’s perfectly safe to do this as long as you protect yourself…” (Koch), which is why they think that it’s better to keep teens ignorant of disease prevention and contraception’s in exchange for teaching them about maintaining abstinence until marriage. Many argue that this is the wrong way to educating teens about sex, due to that many teens are already being sexually active, and thus instead encourage better teen access to contraception’s and more explicit sex-education in schools (Glazer). But these proposals to distribute condoms and birth control in high schools as a way to prevent teen pregnancy has angered parents and conservative religious groups, who view such programs as open invitations for teens to engage in promiscuity (Glazer). So instead, most schools in the United States have implemented sex-education programs offered to teen in high school that are offer fleeting and relatively uninteresting treatments to sex and are usually offered as part of another high school course, usually those being health education or physical education (Glazer).
Thus is why it has been reported that less than 10 percent of teenagers receive a comprehensive sex-education program that is usually often offered after teenagers have already established patterns of unprotected intercourse, which are usually resistant to change (Glazer). In many schools, teachers are not permitted to be explicit as to where teenagers are permitted to obtain contraceptives, or how to use them, even if the teenager asks them for information regarding the contraceptive. Mostly sex-education programs funded by the federal government are prone to promote teenagers to stay abstinent until marriage in order to appease the religious parents and conservatives, who are strong advocates against the teachings and offerings of contraceptives to teenagers as a way of preventing teen pregnancy. The downfall to the programs promoting abstinence until marriage to teenagers is that if the teens want to engage in intercourse, they will engage in intercourse, whether or not if it goes against their parents’ wishes and the abstinence teachings given in school, due to that teens often do the opposite of what adults advise.(Koch)
Many teenagers who are sexually active are on some form of contraception, but are using them inconsistently, whether it being that they forget to take the pill, they don’t want to gain weight, or they don’t want to experience the side effects that come with the ingestion of the pill. Whichever one it is the case point being is that many reported teen births occur even when the mother is on a contraceptive. The central paradox of teen pregnancy is that even when girls know the facts of life,…