Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Getting REAL

Today, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced a bill called the REAL Act. It's a bill that would require comprehensive and medically accurate sex education to be taught in schools.

I went to look at recent polling data on support for teaching comprehensive sex ed in schools -- the most recent I could find was this Pew study from 2005 (if someone has a more recent study, please post in comments). It shows that roughly three-quarters of people support the teaching of condoms AND the teaching of abstinence in sex education. While this might seem to be a contradiction, it's actually the definition of comprehensive sex education.

It's why many people who specialize in sex ed have begun calling this "abstinence plus" to illustrate the fact that comprehensive sex education includes a component of teaching that abstinence is the best way not to get pregnant, but there are other things you can do to mitigate your risks if you decide to become sexually active. And let's face it, most people at some point do.

UPDATE: Added the link to the Pew study.

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