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Texas GOP Promotes Abstinence-Only Education

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"Texas GOP Promotes Abstinence-Only Education"

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Along with the outrageous economic ideas the Texas Republican Party has included in its 2012 platform, the state party is also promoting abstinence-only sex education and urging legislators to prohibit reproductive health services — including any “counseling” — in public schools.

In the 23-page document, Texas Republicans lay out their education platform, which includes the opposition of condom distribution because parents should have full control over what “medications” are administered to their children. The document goes on to reaffirm the Texas GOP’s staunch commitment to disproved abstinence-only education programs, according to the platform:

We recognize parental responsibility and authority regarding sex education. We believe that parents must be given an opportunity to review the material prior to giving their consent. We oppose any sex education other than abstinence until marriage.

Abstinence-only programs have been proven to have no real impact on rates of sexual abstinence. On the other hand, an increased understanding of contraception directly correlates to a decrease in young adults’ risky sexual behavior.

And while U.S. teen pregnancy rates are on the steady decline, states with more rigid abstinence-only policies lag behind the national average. Mississippi — where abstinence-only is the state standard — boasts the highest teen pregnancy rate in the country. Contrast that with the state with the lowest rate, New Hampshire, where comprehensive sex education includes information about condoms and contraception.

A 2007 report showed that only about half of the sexually-active high school students in Texas used a condom when last having sex. Texas Republicans’ abstinence-only stance — coupled with the states parental opt-out policy — engenders this massive education gap that results in young people doubting birth control is an effective way to avoid unwanted pregnancy.

(HT: Jessica Luther)

Steven Perlberg

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