Our view: The real danger of sex ed

DKS Editors

Good news: this month the Ohio House did one thing right by removing a pro-abstinence sex education clause from the state budget plan. The provision would have fined instructors who promoted any sexual contact, taught any contraceptive methods other than abstinence or distributed condoms to his or her students.

Bad news: The fight against comprehensive sex education is still a national problem. Republican Representative Randy Hultgren from Illinois has introduced the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act, which would move funding from comprehensive programs to abstinence-only programs around the country. The act would dedicate $110 million a year for the next five years in grants to abstinence-only programs. According to Hultgren in a March interview with Washington Watch, comprehensive sex education is “dangerous.”

You want to know what’s dangerous, Hultgren? Dangerous is millions of hormonal high schoolers who don’t know how to identify and find treatment for sexually transmitted infections.

You want to know what else is dangerous? Teenagers who don’t know how to use a condom, or worse, believe that condoms are ineffective as protection from STIs and unwanted pregnancy. Dangerous is sexually-active teenagers who don’t have free access to contraceptives.

Dangerous is teen mothers who have to rearrange their lives around having a child. Dangerous is the more than 100,000 children waiting to be adopted each year.

Why would lawmakers do this? Comprehensive sex education has been shown to reduce STIs and unwanted pregnancies. Studies have shown that the effects of abstinence-only education are comparable to receiving no sex education at all. The only reason to remove comprehensive sex education from schools is from an ideological or religious standpoint, which frankly shouldn’t impact anybody who doesn’t share that viewpoint.

We aren’t bashing abstinence as a form of contraception. It’s true that the number one way to not get pregnant or STIs is to not perform sexual activity at all. But a school’s job is not to make decisions for us, but to give us the knowledge to make those decisions ourselves.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.