Survey: Taxpayer-funded programs pressure teens to have sex

Teens Say Sex Ed Pressures Them to Have Sex

Teens say comprehensive sex education programs pressure them to have sex (click to enlarge)

from the National Abstinence Education Association (link):

New Survey: Taxpayer Dollars Funding Programs that Pressure Teens to Have Sex

Congress must correct sex education policy in upcoming budget debate

The results of a new nationally representative survey of teens reports that they think their “comprehensive sex education” classes pressured them to have sex.  This troubling news comes just as Congress takes up the FY 2016 spending bill, which funds sex education.

Nearly 4 in 10 teens report that programs, like those currently funded under the President’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, are actually encouraging teens to have sex.   In fact, teens reported that their sex education classes exerted pressure to have sex more than their dating partners.  One in five teens also said that demonstrating contraception sends the message that teen sex is expected. Male teens are twice as likely to feel this pressure than their female classmates.

Valerie Huber, President of Ascend/NAEA remarks: “The fact that youth are hearing from their sex education classes that sex as a teen is okay, and even expected is very troubling.  And just as troubling, is the fact that the  federal sex education budget currently sends 95% of funding to the very programs that teens say make sex feel like an expectation.  Don’t our teens deserve a healthier alternative?  They certainly do!”

The House and Senate FY 2016 appropriations drafts combine to give healthier information to teens. Specifically, the following changes to sex education policy are proposed:

  • Parity.  Parity in funding and policy for the Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) approach. Currently 95% of all sex ed. funding goes to the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, which normalizes sex for teens.
  • Healthy Relationship Provisions.  Key provisions of the Healthy Relationships Act, a bicameral bill that assures that SRA funding actually goes to programs that give youth the skills to wait for sex.
  • Accurately Naming the Program.  Referring to SRA programs as “SRA programs,” rather than the less precise – and often mischaracterized term – “abstinence education.”

Soon, Congress must decide how to continue funding the government. This is their opportunity to right a wrong clearly revealed in the recent teen survey.

Huber concludes: “Now is the time to send a healthier message to America’s youth. We urge Congress to ratify the sex education funding and policy changes proposed in the FY 2016 spending bill. It’s not too late to improve the information and messages that teens receive, but we cannot delay: Congress can assure teens are empowered with great expectations for their future rather than the risky expectation of sex as a teen.

Read the House and Senate provisions in the FY 2016 spending bill.

Note: The survey was conducted by the Barna Group with 533 U.S. Teens ages 18 and 19 from an online consumer research panel, July 9 – 17, 2015. This data is representative of “adult” teens (no consent needed for participation) who have access to the internet in some form.

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