(Opinion) Sophomore Speaks Up About Sex Ed


By: Rebecca Sparer, Staff Reporter

The views expressed in this piece are mine and mine alone and do not respect the beliefs of Thornton-Donovan School or any other member of The Overlook Journal.
On the weekend of March 3-6, I attended the RAC (Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism).
About 500 Jewish teens gathered in Washington D.C. to discuss relevant social justice issues and to meet
with their congressmen and congresswomen about the changes they want to see.
The students spent the weekend attending numerous seminars and lectures about topics they wanted to learn more about. On the night of March 5th, everyone broke off into groups of three or four to create presentations on the issue they were most passionate about. The issues available included gun control, LGBTQ rights,
environmental health, The Refugee Crisis, Israeli Defense, healthcare, and many others. Three other
girls and I decided to write our presentation on Comprehensive Sexuality Education in Schools and
Women’s Reproductive Rights. We wrote about how important this topic is to us, and how it affects us as
Jewish teenage females living in the United States.
Only a small percentage of  teens are taught how to prevent STDs and accidental pregnancy. Many
students receive “abstinence only” education, where the only thing they learn is how dangerous sex is, not
how to protect themselves if they’re having sex. Many teachers often use the fear tactic to scare students into not having sex. “Abstinence only” education puts students nationwide in danger of making possibly harmful decisions based on a lack of knowledge of sexual health.
On the other hand, comprehensive sexuality education teaches students the guidelines of a
healthy, non-abusive relationship, the effects of puberty, how to prevent STIs and STDs, how to protect
against unplanned pregnancy, and gives students information that can be vital to their health and well-
being. Comprehensive sexuality education is the key to keeping teens healthy and aware of their options.
Many teenagers don’t know where to access forms of birth control, and many don’t have a trusted adult
whom will answer questions about their sexual health, even if they aren’t sexually active.
According to the National Survey of Family Growth, teens who receive comprehensive sexuality education are more than 50% less likely to experience pregnancy than those who experienced abstinence-only education. Many people who don’t have access to vital information about their sexual health may try to terminate their pregnancies in life
threatening ways. The previously mentioned circumstance does not only apply to pregnancies, but also
STDs, STIs, and unhealthy relationships. It is important that comprehensive sexuality education is
available to all students because it could potentially save their lives. The U.S. continues to have one of the highest teen birth rates in the developed world with nearly 24 births per 1,000 girls ages 15-19. That’s 229,715 teenage births per year, which is insanely scary.