A Case for Addressing the Poor Quality of Sex Education in the United States
Haverford College. Department of Political Science
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Over the past few decades, policymakers and their constituents have become increasingly preoccupied with the prevalence of sexual activity among teenagers. Though causality is not always clear, teenage childbearing is associated with numerous negative effects, such as living in poverty and little educational attainment for both mothers and their children. Additionally, the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s put into perspective the fatal and irreversible effects that are possible to obtain from sexual activity. Though teenage pregnancy, birth, and abortion rates are down from the 1990s, teenage sex is still a very important issue in American society. In terms of the sex education debate, restrictions in research dealing with the prevalence of teen sex in the U.S., unplanned pregnancy rates, and sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates, make it difficult for the government to deal with these problems effectively. However, with the budget crisis, it is even more important that government funding is properly allocated to programs that benefit all of its constituents in the long term, and to those who are most affected, immediately. This paper delves into the analysis of what characteristics are successful in combating the harmful consequences of teenage sexual activity, as well as what populations are most at risk. Ultimately, the aim of this thesis is to provide input on how to better counter the occurrence of STIs, unplanned pregnancies, and other negative effects associated with sex among teenagers.