Sex-ed is the answer to rise in teen pregnancy rate

Story by staff

Every year there’s more and more of them. Teens walking around, sporting their “baby bump.” It’s become a normal part of society. The rise in teen pregnancy has overtaken America, producing more birth complications, an increase in abortions and far too many young children in foster care. The problem is massive and can be traced straight back to the bases of American society. Even in today’s open-minded era, the word sex is taboo in most conversations. That is, until you talk to a group of teenagers. Adults don’t want to talk about it. Teenagers want to know about it. And that right there is the root of the pandemic. When humans reach a certain level of maturity, their bodies begin to change. However, this natural process is often looked at as something to hide, not discussed. Even parents are reluctant to tell their children what to expect with these changes. With everyone keeping quiet about the subject, the only way teens have to learn is through experience.

If they’re not receiving the proper instruction at home, then it’s the school’s duty to step in and fill in the gaps. One perfect way to do this is by offering sex education classes.

Sex education is an acceptable way to tell students about the risks of unprotected sex. Most teenagers in our school have never been told about the different preventative measures. The younger a person is, the more likely they are to have birth complications during the pregnancy. Teen mothers are more likely to produce children with mental or physical anomalies or have miscarriages. Three of every ten American teenager girls will get pregnant. However, the rate is on the decline. According to the Office of Adolescent Health, rates have dropped since 2011. This is generally credited with the increase in availability of contraceptives to the teenage population. In a sex education class, the students would be informed about birth control, and the importance of safe sex.

Sex-ed could also greatly reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. The spread of STDs can be easily prevented with the use of condoms. With the stigma surrounding STDs, it’s very difficult to start a discussion about them, especially with adolescents. With the rates rising as they are, it is vital to reach teens about the importance of practicing safe sex.

Opponents normally push for a policy of abstinence, however, in today’s changing world that is becoming more and more impossible. The world that teens inhabit is hypersexualized. TV glamorizes the act and the social stigma surrounding it only leads teens to crave trying it if only for the fact they know they shouldn’t. Sex education could shed light on the reality of sex and show teens that it isn’t some mysterious ritual or rite of passage into adulthood.

Sex education is an important step in changing the epidemic of teen pregnancy and the rise in STDs. Schools should implement a sex-ed policy requiring all high school age students to take it. The class would be informative for teens and answer their questions about the act itself and even contraceptives. If every school would enact a sex education curriculum, it could help solve the massive problem in our society.

source: Office of Adolescent Health