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No More Abstinence-Only Sex Ed for TN Teens?

December 21, 2009

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - While Tennessee schools and sex education instructors will continue to teach abstinence as a 100-percent effective form of birth control, federal dollars will no longer be used to teach that method exclusively. Late last week, Pres. Obama signed a spending bill eliminating all federal funding for abstinence-only sex education programs in favor of evidence-based programs that focus on preventing unintended pregnancy.

Mark Huffman, vice president of education and training for Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee, says Tennessee teens need to know about more than just abstinence practices.

"Any good sexuality education program will include information and skills around abstinence, but the most effective ones are programs that focus on both abstinence and the use of protection."

Huffman says 50 percent to 60 percent of high school students become sexually active, and those who don't receive proper instruction on how to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases can find themselves in difficult situations very quickly.

"What that means then, is that, if these teens are not being taught means of protecting themselves from STDs and pregnancy, then those teens are left behind."

Some parents are more comfortable with an abstinence-only curriculum, but Planned Parenthood welcomes the decision to spend more focus and funding on sex education, which includes other lessons.

More information is available at www.plannedparenthood.org/mid-east-tennesee.



Randy O'Brien, Public News Service - TN