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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Bad sex ed has ripple effect

By Jonathan Deesing

Abstinence-only sex education causes more problems than it solves. If I wanted to hear a teacher tell me not to have sex, I would go to Sunday School.

Insisting that our public schools turn a blind eye toward teens having sex is not only wrong, but also irresponsible and it will have a profound effect on them as they progress in life. To think that teaching teens about condoms and safe sex would encourage sexual behavior in students who were not already sexually active is ludicrous. Better sex education in public schools is common sense.

Everyone has an opinion on abortion. It’s murder, it’s awful, it’s the woman’s choice, it’s an unborn mass of cells. Whatever your opinion, everyone can agree that if there were a way to eradicate the issue of abortion, to make it irrelevant, everyone would be happier.

However, the people who push for anti-abortion legislation are by and large the very same people who perpetuate the practice of abortion.

By pushing for abstinence-only sex education in public schools, religious conservatives guarantee that teenagers will continue to have unsafe sex and unwanted pregnancies, therefore continuing the practice of abortion.

Abortion is far from the only issue created by promoting abstinence-only sex education. With it comes more teen pregnancies and in real life, they aren’t like “Juno.” There isn’t an abundance of pithy dialogue and a happy ending.

A study conducted by the Utah Department of Health showed that 1.8 percent of all Utah girls ages 15 to 17 have a child, and 6.6 percent of Latina girls in the same age range who have one. A national study showed Latina mothers are also more likely to drop out of high school. A basic knowledge of safe sex would be much more detrimental to the country than high school dropouts with children and no job. Just ask Sarah Palin.

Teenagers aren’t the only ones who suffer from this lack of knowledge8212;so do college students. I’ve known more than one student who implements the “pulling-out” method of contraception. Indeed, in a study conducted by the Utah Department of Health, not only were college-age individuals the highest group in reported cases of gonorrhea and chlamydia, but also have steadily increased in number every year.

Another DOH study showed 25.3 percent of unintended Utah pregnancies occur in college. I doubt any of these students would have unprotected sex if they had been shown pictures of chlamydia in high school or taught that genital herpes never goes away8212;there is absolutely no cure. If students were taught that pregnancies can occur after only one sexual encounter that would probably make a difference too.

However, a basic knowledge of safe sex is much more terrible than the spread of STDs in the minds of religious conservatives.

Rep. Lynn Hemingway, D-Holladay, stepped forward Feb. 11 with House Bill 189, showing that at least some people are concerned with the state of sex education in Utah. His reasonable bill proposes that the importance of abstinence still be taught, but that those students who are sexually active should not be neglected. The bill emphasizes the use of contraceptives and the great importance of practicing safe, responsible and sober sex.

The bill has yet to hit the Senate floor, and likely never will.

Many teens are going to have sex regardless of what they are taught in high school. Either we can ignore this and hope that an underpaid high school teacher can instill “good morals” in teens, or we can be progressive and teach them how to grow into responsible college students and adults.

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Jonathon Deesing

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