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Wisconsin Schools Should Instruct About Birth Control And STD’s

January 28, 2010

The Wisconsin State Legislature is to be applauded for moving forward with a much-needed sex education bill.  On Thursday the State Senate voted along party lines to ensure that if a public school taught sex education students must be instructed about birth control and sexually transmitted diseases.  If the bill is signed into law by Governor Doyle it would take effect in the 2010 school year. 

The fact that we just do not mandate sex education in all public schools is still a mystery to me.  Puritanical thinking  controls more areas of public life than we care to admit, and the fight over this current proposal is proof  of that fact.  When it comes to a lack of proper sex education we are not only talking about unwanted pregnancies, but also diseases that can lead to death.  It would then seem to be clear to all that sex education matters. But that does not stop many from arguing against the needed common-sense legislation.

One of the reasons the bill winding through the state legislature is credible concerns the fact that ‘abstinence only’ is a bankrupt idea.  Abstinence programs are outdated, and do not work.  They have been proven to make a bad situation worse in that teenagers who pledge never to have sex until marriage fail to use condoms or other protective means when they realize the pledge is just not very practical.  Unprotected sex can lead to pregnancy and STD’s and therefore ‘abstinence only’ programs are not what the government should be promoting.  Thankfully,  most  elected Wisconsin Democrats are not drinking the ‘abstinence only’ kool-aid and are putting sound judgement and the health of young people ahead of political posturing.

The fact is that teenagers have sex.  Whether we want them to or not, it is going to happen.  So with that as a starting point, it is vital that they be supplied with the right information, such as how to use a condom.   By pretending that they will not be acting like average teenagers we only delude ourselves.  By our failing to provide the necessary facts in order to help them to make sound decisions only undermines the ones we profess to care about.  

For Republicans to pretend that ‘abstinence only’ is a practical idea, and use the ‘local control’ argument as a means to fight for it, does not serve our youth.  Such arguments may play well to conservative voters at election time, but fail to remedy a real need among our nation’s youth.   Thankfully the majority in the state legislature understood the leadership role they needed to play, and acted on behalf of the health and well-being of our state’s youth when passing the sex education bill.

I have long-argued that ‘abstinence only’ programs were not positive ways to instill healthy thoughts about sex to our youth.  Playing to those parents who nurture the idea that sex is not a positive or healthy value, and then instilling that in children, (which is the cornerstone of ‘abstinence only’ programs) should not be encouraged in our public schools.  There are better ways to deal with teenage sexuality than pretending it does not exist, or foster negative views that will ill-serve the child long into adulthood.

4 Comments
  1. February 2, 2010 4:19 PM

    Thanks Jenny for making my last line ring true.

    “There are better ways to deal with teenage sexuality than pretending it does not exist, or foster negative views that will ill-serve the child long into adulthood.”

  2. Jenny permalink
    February 2, 2010 4:15 PM

    Glad WisPol picked this post up as I know it is important. Our 16 year old son has always been able to talk with us about sex. We started an open and honest ‘conversation’ early on so that when it came to this point things would be easier. This summer my husband and I agreed that our son should have condoms in case he needed them. Our son is aware of the larger issues of respect and responsibilty that go into the decision to have sex, but we also know he is an average 16 year old. I want him to be safe and smart. In our case I not concerned about pregnancy, as our son is gay, but I am concerned about STDs, and want him protected. Too few of his friends have parents that are as open as we are in this home, and for that reason I am glad that some schools will now take the added job on to educate about safe sex.

  3. Carol permalink
    February 2, 2010 2:57 PM

    Now I find it funny that there is so much fear from using a rubber or teaching kids about safe sex. As a taxpayer I know full well the cost of having some segments of the population breed beyound thier ability to pay for the kids. More kids, more schools, more taxes, and we all know who pays those taxes. No those who did not wrap up! So I say teach those kids how to wrap it up and save themselves perhaps a STD and also help lower my property taxes.

  4. Sara permalink
    January 29, 2010 3:40 AM

    Thank you for stating this. It is indeed common sense and I very much agree.

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