Our Kids Need to Know
In less than ten years, my oldest daughter will be able to get pregnant. Before that happens, she needs to know exactly how her body works so she can make good, safe decisions. It’s my primary responsibility as her parent to make sure she has that information, but I know that not every parent is able (or, sometimes, willing) to give their kids the information they need as early as they need it. And that’s where sex education in schools comes in—because every kid who could either get pregnant or get someone else pregnant needs to know exactly how reproduction works before their decisions will have life-altering consequences. If we don’t teach our kids correct principles, the internet will teach them perverted ones.
Unfortunately, our State Legislature is preventing our kids from being taught all the principles they need to know. Utah is one of many states that requires an abstinence-only sex education curriculum.
Unlike most of our current legislature, I went through abstinence-only sex education in high school, and I can tell you from firsthand experience that it’s a waste of everyone’s time. All the sexually active kids in my high school just rolled their eyes and kept doing what they were doing. All the kids who had, like me, already decided to be abstinent until marriage learned nothing new. All of us felt awkward. Not one person that I know of changed their decisions, despite all the money spent by the state and the school district. In short, abstinence-only sex education does not work.
On the other hand, data has shown time and time again that comprehensive sex education does work. Comprehensive sex education lowers STD infection rates and helps teens make better, safer decisions about sex—including having less of it before marriage! And because they’re having less (and safer) sex, comprehensive sex education lowers the teen pregnancy rate—and the abortion rate with it. A comprehensive sex education curriculum includes:
Scientific information on the biological mechanics of reproduction.
Complete coverage of contraception options and their use.
An accurate primer on sexually transmitted diseases
Definitions of what and does not constitute consent.
Accurate information about LGBTQIA+ identities.
Guidance on avoiding sexual harassment.
Emphasis on the fact that abstinence is not only a valid choice, but also the only 100% guaranteed method of avoiding pregnancy and STDs.
Like most members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I hope my daughters will get married in the temple before they have kids. But they might choose not to. In that case, they need to have all the information taught in a comprehensive sex education class to minimize the negative consequences of their decisions.
But even if they are abstinent till marriage, as I hope, they will still need to know all the information taught in a comprehensive sex education class on their wedding nights! There is no good reason to withhold this information. Our kids can handle it. And when we dispel the aura of mystery that so often surrounds sexual activity, we dispel a lot of the temptation that goes with it. I know that if we teach our kids correct principles—including in the classroom—they will govern themselves better than we might expect. A vote for Daniel Craig Friend is a vote to trust our kids.