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Why We Need Sex Ed NOW

I was sent this infographic by a new group called Public Health Resources. According to their website, the group’s purpose is to provide a source of information and resources for people who are interested in pursuing a degree in public health. The infographic is called Why We Need Sex Ed Now. Here’s what the creators have to say about the project:

Today it’s pretty clear that abstinence-only education doesn’t work — and scientific studies prove it. Not only does it not work though, it actually worsens the problems that it claims to solve. States where abstinence-only education reigns supreme have the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the United States. At the same time, states that favor comprehensive sexual education — the type that teaches students about birth control — have the lowest levels of teen pregnancy.

Teen pregnancy rates are often closely mirrored with a nation’s public health status because high rates of pregnancy suggest a lack of protection during sex. And of course, a lack of protection leads to an increase in sexually transmitted diseases. Every two minutes in the United States 3 teens get pregnant, and more than 80% of these pregnancies are unintended. We need sex ed now: not just as a matter of public health, but as a matter of sustaining the robust society that America has built over time. This graphic lays out all the facts and makes the case for protection.

I like infographics such as these because they put what some might find to be dry study findings in your face. The downside of course is that they’re only part of the story – conclusions with no background – and you run the risk of making shoddy sloganistic arguments if you don’t know where the statements are coming from. BUT the authors have kindly provided references for all of the statements in the lower right corner of the diagram for reference and full context. YAY! You can view the full size poster at the PHR website by clicking on the image. Enjoy!

Reproductive Health Education

Created by: PublicHealthDegree.com


  1. David Marjanović says

    The poster is awesome, except for its 1950s design that will make people’s eyes just slide over it.

  2. Buffy says

    The biggest problems with abstinence-only sex-ed is that it presumes keeping children ignorant and lying to them will keep them from having sex.

  3. smrnda says

    I think that what it comes down to is that everybody wants to decrease teen pregnancy, but when it comes to right-wingers they are much more emotionally invested in making sex before marriage seem as shameful as possible, something so horrible that it can’t even be talked about or considered, and the tradeoff seems worth it to them, perhaps at least consciously.

    I remember getting an abstinence-based talk where I basically said “hey, let’s say I want to have sex, what can keep me safe?” (I actually wasn’t going to, but I was making a point.) The ‘teacher’ said “well, if you don’t want to follow abstinence, what happens to you is your problem, and not mine.”

    If you look at the stats, you can see the results of this Dark Age ideology. I’m just thinking that most parents really don’t want abstinence taught their kids instead of comprehensive sex ed, but that the forces that promote abstinence based sex education are just so well-funded and well-connected.

    But seriously, has there ever been so much money spent on a public policy that clearly did not work?

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