The House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee released a report on Friday entitled A Better Approach to Teenage Pregnancy Prevention: Sexual Risk Avoidance. The report makes it clear that abstinence education is the best approach when it comes to the different approaches for teaching sex education to teenagers.
The report examined the theory and the evidence behind both Sexual Risk Avoidance Abstinence Education and Sexual Risk Reduction, or so-called Comprehensive” Sex Education and concluded that abstinence education is the superior approach and one that deserves policy priority.
“America’s teens need guidance to protect them from the consequences of risky sexual behavior. Unfortunately, the current course of national policy on teenage pregnancy prevention is undermining the desired health outcome,” the report says. “Careful examination of research confirms that a value-neutral and risk reduction approach to sexual behavior is not consistent with teenage behavioral theory and not effective in impacting America’s high rates of teenage pregnancy and STIs.”
The report goes on to recommend that abstinence education: “is a better approach, because it is built on sound theory and empirical evidence.”
Valerie Huber, executive director of the National Abstinence Education Association, applauded the report and its findings.
“We applaud the leadership of Rep. Pitts to correct current sex education policy by reestablishing a priority on the SRA abstinence education approach based on the evidence of effectiveness,” she said. The findings of this report reinforce the value of the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act, which will implement many of the policy changes suggested in the congressional report.”
The new report comes on the heels of a recently released NAEA, study that reached similar conclusions. But Huber says the Congressional Report is significant because it was released by the subcommittee which has jurisdiction over the nation’s sex education policies and provides a hopeful sign that Congress will work to correct the current federal sex education policy in the next session.
“The Subcommittee report also effectively sets the record straight by clarifying the two sex education approaches. Almost 75% of 15-17 year olds have never had sex and our federal sex education policy should reinforce these positive trends,” Huber added.
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The Abstinence Education Reallocation Act was introduced by Rep. Randy Hultgren in the House and Sen. Lindsey Graham in the Senate and currently has 70 cosponsors.