What West Virginia can teach us about comprehensive sex education

"Of every eight babies that were born in West Virginia, one was born to a teen mother."

PBS Newshour reports on the rising trend of teen pregnancy and birth rates in West Virginia and how, surprisingly, it has led to comprehensive sex education.  Although the trend across the nation has been declining, the exact opposite is happening in West Virginia.  As of May, West Virginia "has the eighth highest teen birth rate of the fifty states."

Here at More than Sex-Ed, we support the comprehensive sex education taking place in West Virginia.  As studies have shown, traditional sex education is not effective in reducing teen pregnancy and birth rates. That is why it is now more important than ever to implement comprehensive sex education in our schools.  



Warning : Teen Pregnancy Programs Defunded!

Programs geared towards preventing teen pregnancy, amounting up to $213 million dollars, have been defunded by the Trump Administration. 


The US Department of Health and Human Services have decided to end the grants given out by the last administration for programs "designed to find scientifically valid ways to help teenagers make healthy decisions that avoid unwanted pregnancies."  The move towards abstinence focused programs instead follow the stance Secretary Tom Price supports.  Over 80 institutions nationwide will lose funding for programs that seek to lower the teen pregnancy rates.  The unprecedented decision to stop funding of long term projects immediately have shocked many researchers who noted the action to be "highly unusual and wasteful". 

"More than a quarter of U.S. girls become pregnant by 20."

Although the rate of teen pregnancy in the states is high relative to other industrialized nations, the defunding of programs may potentially slow the trend of declining teen birth rates in America.  Researchers and project leaders noted that the decision to cancel all funding immediately came from the recently appointed chief of staff, Valerie Huber.  Huber's past work with pro-abstinence programs reaffirms the shocking decision to end grants for research is driven by personal agenda and not by scientific research.  

The current administration is flagrantly denying the data and aggressively cutting the educational outreach that has been proven to work!  Here at More than Sex-Ed, we support the teens that need these programs and services.  If you would like help donate to support programs and services that help reduce the teen birth rates, please click on this link.  Your recurring donation allows us to continue research and projects that help teens. 

Teen Pregnancy: A Surprising New Study!

A recent published study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  shows that use of contraception among teens has led to "a historic low" in teen pregnancy rates in the States. 


"The teen pregnancy and birth rate dropped to 22.3 births per 1,000 teens in 2015, compared to a whopping 62 births per 1,000 in 1991. "

Other interesting finding from the study mentions that among sexually active teens the most popular form of contraception used were condoms.  When analyzing a report put together by the Guttmacher Institute, consistent condom use has increased among teens "from 46.2% to 63%".   Although it is easy to conclude that the increased access to condoms in high schools is the cause of the decline, one case study reveals the complexity of this issue.  The Atlantic published an article noting that condom access without sex education can increase teen pregnancy rates.  It is important to mention that other forms of contraception, specifically long term intrauterine devices, led to lower rates of teen pregnancy. 

We at More than Sex-ed believe that it is healthiest for young teens to postpone sex.  When studies show that abstinence only sex education do not delay sexual activity, it is time to consider comprehensive sex education that also includes contraception.


The Abstinence Advocate Who Will Oversee American Sex Education

Valerie Huber has been appointed by the Trump administration as the chief of staff for the Department of Health and Human Services.

What is the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) responsible for? 

"HHS administers more than 100 programs in medicine, public health, and social services. The department also oversees the Office of Adolescent Health, which is the main area of concern for advocates of comprehensive sex education. The office conducts research and training on preventing teen pregnancy and STDs".

Before appointment, Huber worked as the CEO for the organization Ascend.  Ascend promotes the traditional approach of sex education through abstinence or sexual risk avoidance. Huber is also known for supporting the program "Choosing the Best". This program is geared towards juniors and seniors in high school with the goal of "asking students to take a commitment and abstinence pledge".  Huber's stance "that mainstream culture normalizes premarital sex and contraceptives" shows her support for abstinence only education. 

When analyzing data from states that provide abstinence only sex education, it is clear that states with traditional approaches to sex education are ineffective in reducing teen birth rates.  For example, Texas is one of the states with abstinence only programs as the main form of sex education and the teen pregnancy rates are among the highest in the nation.  It is clear that " Huber's aversion toward comprehensive sex education ignores national data". 

Here at More Than Sex-ed, we promote open and honest dialogue about the state of sexual education.  Although we believe it is healthy for teens to postpone sexual intercourse, abstinence only education is ineffective in reducing teen pregnancy and birth rates.  When analyzing the available data, it is obvious that comprehensive sex education is more effective in reducing teen pregnancy and birth rates.   



NPR : In Texas, Abstinence-Only Programs May Contribute To Teen Pregnancies


"Research shows teens everywhere are having sex, with about half of high school students saying they've had sexual intercourse. Gwen Daverth, CEO of the Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, says the high numbers in Texas reflect policy, not promiscuity. "

A majority of high schools in Texas provide abstinence only sex education or "doesn't offer sexual education at all".  The results from Texas policy translate into some of the highest teen pregnancy rates in America.  Although teen birth rates are declining across the country, states that favor abstinence as the main form of sexual education are seeing a slower decline.  This NPR program gives context on the issue through Jessica Chester's experience.