Monday, April 16, 2007

Some in no sex-ed mood

Posted at The Denver Post
Students in Wray don't receive lessons in health class on how to use condoms or when to take the morning-after pill, and the small, northeastern Colorado community likes it that way.

But a proposed state law awaiting a likely signature from Gov. Bill Ritter will force school districts to include science-based material, including emergency contraception, in sex-ed classes.

"We don't teach that kind of material ... not as graphic as what that new law is saying," said Wray superintendent Ron Howard.

Wray is among the nearly one-third of Colorado school districts that skip condom instruction and focus on abstinence, according to a Planned Parenthood survey.

This article claims that "there are 12,130 teen pregnancies in Colorado each year - more than one per hour", and states that "85 percent of school districts in Colorado teach sex education. Of those, about 30 percent reported teaching only abstinence". That means that 15% don't teach any kind of sex education, and about 59.5% do include alternatives to abstinence in their sex education classes. The amount teaching abstinence only would be 30% of the 85%, which is about 25.5%. The article fails to tie together the areas where "abstinence only" is taught, and how this contributes to the 12,130 teen pregnancies in Colorado each year. No sources are given for how this number was obtained other than to say that it was quoted by "Rep. Nancy Todd, an Aurora Democrat and former school teacher".

Wray Colorado is in Yuma county, and according to the Colorado Organization on Adolescent, Pregnancy, Parenting, and Prevention (COAPPP), Yuma county is not in the top 10 counties for fertility rates of girls 15-17 years old. The report even said that "Due to the small teen population in small counties, some have disproportionately high fertility rates, despite the few teen births each year. Large counties may have more teen births, but proportionally the fertility rate is lower because of the larger population".

Without a correlation between the 25.5% of schools that teach abstinence only and their contribution to the 12,130 teen pregnancies each year, the numbers are meaningless.

I'm going to read the results of the 10-year study of four abstinence-only-until-marriage programs recently published by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. The results are already causing controversy...

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