Teacher Explaining Female Reproductive System
Credit: Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images

Starting back during the Reagan administration, the U.S. government has given money to support abstinence-only sex education. Now, a new study proposes that abstinence-only sex ed does much more harm than good, as opposed to educating kids and teens about the full scope of birth control and STI prevention.

The Journal of Adolescent Health published research written by the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine and a team of researchers from Columbia University, University of North Carolina, the Guttmacher Institute, and the Children’s National Medical Center at George Washington University, and others.

It all goes back to the Adolescent Family Life Act, which Ronald Reagan signed in 1981.

The act was the first abstinence-only funding program. But the Journal of Adolescent Health points out that these programs do little to stop teens and young adults from having sex before marriage. In addition, they don’t effectively teach about safe sex measures that can reduce the risk of pregnancy and STIs.

The study concludes that the “information” provided by these programs is “incomplete.”

This all points to comprehensive sex ed as a vital resource for young people. Also, the study is especially relevant during Trump’s administration with Republicans in Congress continuously trying to defund organizations like Planned Parenthood that, in addition to being a medical resource, provide all sorts of tools and guidance for young people.

Whether or not teens decide to have sex, they deserve to have all the information needed to make that choice and carry it out in the healthiest, safest way, and that most definitely includes information about consent, LGBTQ+ resources, birth control, and sexual health.