We have a preventable public health problem in Utah
Recent years have seen an increase in Utah 's teenage pregnancy rate for the first time in over a decade as well as a dramatic spike in the rates of new infections of several very dangerous sexually-transmitted diseases.
Meanwhile, most of Utah 's public schools teach little more than abstinence-until-marriage in their reproductive health education curricula, and several of Utah 's school districts are expressly abstinence-only. Parents should have a greater choice than this.
A vast body of objective research shows that abstinence-only education does not work. Abstinence is a great message, there's no doubt about that – but student surveys consistently find that at least half of all our high school students report engaging in sexual activity before they graduate. Because parents know their children best, they should be given the power to choose which health education program is best for their kids.
Those students who choose not to abstain need to know how to reduce their risk of contracting a disease or becoming pregnant unintentionally. For them, we need comprehensive reproductive health education that teaches not only abstinence but also medically-accurate, age-appropriate information on contraceptive options and the prevention of sexually-transmitted infections.
It’s time for a parental option for comprehensive reproductive health education.
Here is a copy of the proposed bill and the talking points.