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Abstinence Case

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Abstinence education is mostly an American form of sex education that teaches abstinence from sex. This type of sex education promotes sexual abstinence until marriage and avoids discussion of use of contraceptives. Comprehensive sex education, by contrast, covers the use of contraceptives as well as abstinence. This topic is controversial in the United States, with proponents of abstinence-only education claiming that it discourages premarital sexual activity, and critics arguing that abstinence-only education is religiously motivated and that the approach has been proven ineffective and even detrimental to its own aims.

Teenage sexual activity is a major problem confronting the nation and has led to a rising incidence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), emotional and psychological injuries, and out-of-wedlock childbearing. Abstinence education programs for youth have been proven to be effective in reducing early sexual activity. Abstinence programs also can provide the foundation for personal responsibility and enduring marital commitment. Therefore, they are vitally important to efforts aimed at reducing out-of-wedlock childbearing among young adult women, improving child well-being, and increasing adult happiness over the long term.

Most people criticize "Abstinence Only" programs because feel like they are not effective and they are based on religious beliefs. However, there are some "Abstinence Only" programs that actually work for adolescents. One of these particular programs is called " Not Me, Not Now." Not Me, Not Now, a community wide abstinence intervention targeting children between the ages of 9 to 14 year olds in Monroe County, New York, which includes the city of Rochester. The Not Me, Not Now program devised a mass communications strategy to promote the abstinence message through paid TV and radio advertising, billboards, posters distributed in schools, educational materials for parents, an interactive Web site, and educational sessions in school and community settings.

The program sought to communicate five themes: raising awareness of the problem of teen pregnancy, increasing an understanding of the negative consequences of teen pregnancy, developing resistance to peer pressure, promoting parent-child communication, and promoting abstinence among teens. Not Me, Not Now was effective in reaching early teen listeners. During the intervention period, the program achieved a statistically positive shift in attitudes among pre-teens and early teens in the county. The sexual activity rate of 15-year-olds across the county (as reported in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey) dropped by a significant amount from 46.6 percent to 31.6 percent during the intervention period. Finally, the pregnancy rate for girls aged 15 through 17 in Monroe County fell by a great amount, from 63.4 pregnancies per 1,000 girls to 49.5 pregnancies per 1,000. The teen pregnancy rate fell more rapidly in Monroe County than in comparison counties and in upstate New York in general, and the difference in the rate of decrease was huge.

Another program that is effective is " Abstinence by Choice." Abstinence by Choice operates in 20 schools in the Little Rock area of Arkansas. The program targets 7th, 8th, and 9th grade students and reaches about 4,000 youths each year. The program has been highly effective in changing the attitudes that are directly linked to early sexual activity. Moreover, the program reduced the sexual activity rates of girls by approximately 40 percent and the rate for boys by approximately 30 percent when compared with similar students who had not been exposed to the program.

According to "The Star" Newspaper, Last year on October 24, 33 fewer teen girls reported pregnancies in Cleveland County than in the year 2011. The decrease marks a 17.6 percent drop in teen pregnancy. (Phipps, 2013) DeShay Oliver, coordinator of health services of the Cleveland County Health Department, attributed to some of the decrease to the recent Healthy Youth Act. The Healthy Youth Act was put in to effect in the Cleveland County Schools in grades seven, eight and nine. This program focuses on abstinence but also focuses encouraging students to delay the start of sexual activity and it emphasizes the potential consequences of sex. Another reason behind the decrease in teen pregnancies is there are now more effective birth control methods available on the market today. (Phipps, 2013)

According to Matthew Holland, executive director of the Pregnancy Resource Center of Cleveland County, the significant drop in teen pregnancies could possibly be from the increase of the availability of emergency contraceptives. Teenagers could still be getting pregnant, but the use of emergency contraceptives could terminate the pregnancy. The Pregnancy Resource Center is a pro-life ministry that does not speak in favor of the use of contraceptives. Their approach is 100 percent abstinence for those that are unmarried. (Phipps, Pregnancy Resource Center, 2013)

According to the Associated Press, in Chicago, 2010, an experimental abstinence only program without a moralistic tone can actually delay young teens from having sex. Billed as the first research



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