Sex Education Can Foster Family Restoration

The education of children on sexuality is always a hot button topic that does, and should, rile up parents who are legally and socially charged with protecting their children's best interests. Misinformed rhetoric is often based on false claims, and may even rely on deception. The decision to help our teenagers make wise decisions about their own sexuality is one of the most important that parents and their children will make in their lives.

A teen's choice to delay sexual activity is too often not considered a "natural" choice, and can be the subject of ridicule in many circles. Strong men and women, however, understand that this decision is critical to a strong future, and is not one to be made lightly.

Teenagers need to be aware that some industries actually profit from risky sexual behavior. What happened in Virginia last week provides an important object lesson in this regard.

Despite intense lobbying efforts from both Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, Governor Bob McDonnell’s office announced that his administration has applied for a federal grant for abstinence-only education. This grant will provide $900,000 in federal money ($400,000 will be matched on the state level) to augment school budgets should a locality choose to provide abstinence-only education. This grant would help fund effective and widely supported abstinence centered programs in Virginia’s public schools. In contrast to Gov. McDonnell's decision, in 2007, then Governor Kaine rejected federal funding of abstinence-centered education at the behest of Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood claims that abstinence education is not effective. It is important to understand that federal funding of abstinence education is federal funding diverted from Planned Parenthood government grant programs.

Recent studies have shown that abstinence-centered education, particularly programs in Virginia, have been successful in preventing teen pregnancy and delaying sexual activity. Additionally, polling indicates that parents want their children to be taught abstinence. It would seem then, that abstinence education is in the best interest of Virginia’s children and families. By contrast, the abortion industry promotes the notion that teenagers simply cannot control themselves. One Virginia legislator that works closely with Planned Parenthood and NARAL carried this message saying, “the reality is with teenagers their hormones come into play, and abstinence-only doesn't always work.” The primary arguments have been that “abstinence education doesn’t work,” “parents don’t support abstinence education,” or "it’s naive to think that teenagers can be abstinent." None of those arguments, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, are correct. In fact, this year a study paid for by HHS and a recent survey found that abstinence education is highly effective and it is widely supported by parents and teenagers.

The HHS survey released late last month found that 70 percent of parents agreed that it is “against [their] values for [their] adolescents to have sexual intercourse before marriage” and that “having sexual intercourse is something only married people should do.” Adolescent beliefs, according to the survey, were similar. More interestingly, HHS had buried the survey results and was forced to release it to the public only after a deluge of FIOA requests. Why would HHS not want people to know that Americans want and support abstinence before marriage? Because the battle over sex education is indeed a battle of worldviews and a battle for the hearts, minds, and bodies of children. The fact is that abstinence centered programs do work and they are making a difference – science is showing that.

If marriage is indeed the lifelong, sexually exclusive, sacramental union of one man and one woman, established by the consent of the spouses, characterized by love and a life of companionship, and ordered to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children, it makes sense that as children grow into maturity they will wish to take their sexual choices seriously. When teens and their families are not educated on all the issues surrounding sexuality, the individuals are weakened, the family is weakend, and the institution of marriage is weakened. Wise sexual education can actually reverse this weaking, and work to restore the strength of individuals and families.

Despite intense lobbying efforts from both Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, Governor Bob McDonnell’s choice to work to augment school budgets and provide abstinence-only education is commendable.

The Virginia Family Foundation has provided an avenue to express gratitude to Governor McDonnell for this decision, and you may take advantage of that by clicking here.

Wisdom in education on sexuality cannot be overstated. Sex education that promotes wise and fully informed decsionmaking by students can provide a formidable basis for strong future families, and ultimately result in serious family restoration. Teenagers need to be encouraged that making wise decisions about their own sexuality are some of the most important they will make in their lives.

1 comment:

  1. This blog post sparked a lengthy conversation between my husband and I a few nights ago. As parents of 3 young children, the oldest of which is 10, we are preparing ourselves for the impending teen years. We both agree across the board that there is something seriously "wrong" with the content, organization and overall theme of sexual education that is being offered to our children in public schools.

    It seems that it is assumed that teenagers will "do what they're going to do," and so, most sex education programs are aimed at giving teenagers the knowledge and tools to try to prevent pregnancy and STDS - with abstinence as a mere afterthought. Little is said about the possible emotional consequences associated with young teenagers having sex, and so while they might be "protected" physically, they are caught emotionally off-guard and unprepared.

    However, parents should never depend on a school or other entity outside of the home to be the sole, or even primary source of sex education for their kids. Talking about this subject with our children gives us a perfect opportunity to pass on our worldviews and values to them.

    The last sentence of this blog post is particularly poignant. If knowledge and information have the ability to empower - then we should give our children the "whole picture," and help them to understand that decisions that they make about their own sexuality are indeed "some of the most important they will make in their lives."