Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America stated at a center in San Antonio this past week that abstinence-only education does not serve our youth, but in fact, endangers them. While holding up the current state-approved Health class textbook, Richards said:
There’s absolutely nothing in here about using a condom or anything else that would prevent a sexually transmitted infection.
Texas, for more than five years now, has had the highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation. The prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) has also increased with abstinence-only education. The evidence that this education (or lack thereof) has lead to countless unintended pregnancies or STIs is difficult to ignore . With recent addendums made by the Texas Board of Education, health classes are no longer even a requirement for students to graduate.
As a graduate from a high school in Houston, lifelong Texas citizen, and intern for NLIRH, I have firsthand experience with teen pregnancy and the lack of medically-accurate education. Five of my childhood friends have had children since gradation, all of which were unintended. If Texas doesn’t reexamine its educational priorities, the future of the state will reflect the carelessness of its curriculum.
By Carlos Blanco, Community Mobilization Intern