Another goal of the AFLA was to promote adoption as the preferred option of teenage pregnancy. A district court had held in that the AFLA was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court reversed that decision and found that on its face the statute did not violate separation of church and state principles.
Sex education has been a controversial subject for decades as public school officials and parents have debated the best ways to help teenagers avoid unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. Not all states require schools to teach sex ed. But many states require sex education instructors to discuss or stress abstinence from sexual activity, with some schools offering abstinence-only programming, which urges kids to wait until marriage and often excludes information about contraceptives.
Federally funded abstinence-only programs use curricula that contain "false, misleading or distorted information about reproductive health," according to a congressional study prepared for Representative Henry A. Waxman D-CA. For example, while abstinence-only classes encourage young people to take a pledge that they will remain virgins until marriage, the Waxman study cites research that indicates "virginity pledgers" are no less likely to engage in premarital sex than their peers.
It can be hard to convey the danger of abstinence-only sex ed programs, but a new set of trading cards is hoping to do exactly that. The campaign calls out the rise of sexual risk avoidance SRA curriculum to teach sex ed. While "sexual risk avoidance" may sound nice, it's really just a rebranding of abstinence-only-until-marriage, which the new trading cards effectively illustrate.
Democratic lawmakers and reproductive and sexual health advocates gathered on Capitol Hill to introduce legislation aimed at mandating comprehensive and inclusive sexual education in the face of repeated Trump administration attacks on existing programs. The Trump administration has continuously sought to rollback critical fact-based sex ed programs like the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program TPPPwhich Trump has proposed eliminating in each of the three budget proposals his administration has produced since taking office. While the text of the two bills will be released at a later date, advocates expect similar wording to previous versions of bills that were introduced in the last congress.
The institute has kept the numbers constantly updated since as the trend of lowered teen birth rates has continued to drop nationwide. Sex ed is mandated in 24 states and the District of Columbia. Of that total, the following 22 states and the District of Columbia mandate both sex ed and HIV education:.
The Trump administration's focus has been on abstinence-only educationwhich much research has shown fails to provide young people with medically sound information. There are currently only 24 states, and the District of Columbia, that mandate that schools provide sexual education, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Even so, only 13 states require the education to be medically accurate.
Teen sexual health outcomes over the past decade have been mixed. On one hand, teen pregnancy and birth rates have fallen dramatically, reaching record lows. On the other hand, rates of sexually transmitted infections STIs among teens and young adults have been on the rise.
As individuals and organizations committed to the First Amendment and freedom of thought, inquiry, and speech, we oppose censorship as an affront to a core constitutional principle: that government may not control what individuals read, see, hear, think, and say. While the stated goals of the program, reducing non-marital sexual activity and teen pregnancy, may appeal to some, such goals can be better achieved through educational programs that do not resort to government censorship, but respect freedom of speech and access to information. It is therefore particularly important that legislators, educators, policy-makers, parents, students and others understand the threat it poses to important First Amendment principles:.
Abstinence-only sex education is a form of sex education that teaches not having sex outside of marriage. It often excludes other types of sexual and reproductive health education, such as birth control and safe sex. Comprehensive sex educationby contrast, covers the use of birth control and sexual abstinence.