The Instigator
TheHolyTaco
Pro (for)
Winning
38 Points
The Contender
rawrxqueen
Con (against)
Losing
35 Points

Stop Teaching Only Abstinence!

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Started: 10/7/2009 Category: Health
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,609 times Debate No: 9627
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (13)
Votes (14)

 

TheHolyTaco

Pro

The amount of abstinence-only programs and/or programs that have a heavy bias towards abstinence needs to stop right now! There is a big enough problem with STDs in the United States as I speak. A lot of young adults in the "Bible Belt" only know about condoms and birth control pills, which is alright, but the abstinence-only programs are making it seem like they are completely ineffective. The bible belt has the highest rate of STDs in the US.

[http://img.thebody.com...]

Do these really look like the abstinence-only programs are working? Do not get me wrong, there are plenty of other A-Only programs in the US outside of the Bible Belt. But we need to teach our youth to be safe against the mind-blowing rates of STDs in the country and around the world. Abstinence is a great way, but with the right person at the right time, it is incredibility weak.
rawrxqueen

Con

There is strong and widespread support of teaching sexual abstinence to American teens. Over 90 percent of parents, at a minimum, want teens to be taught to abstain from sexual activity until they have at least finished high school. (Some 84 percent of parents favor teaching a stronger standard: abstinence until a couple is married or close to marriage.) Teens themselves also favor abstinence education: over 90 percent agree that teens should be taught to abstain from sex until they have at least finished high school.

Teaching abstinence is not only very popular; it also makes sense. Social science data show that teens who abstain from sex do substantially better on a wide range of outcomes. For example, teens who abstain from sex are less likely to be depressed and to attempt suicide; to experience STDs; to have children out-of-wedlock; and to live in poverty and welfare dependence as adults, according to The Heritage Foundation. Finally, teens who delay sexual activity are more likely to have stable and enduring marriages as adults.

Sexual activity during teenage years poses serious health risks for youths and has long-term implica�tions. Early sexual activity is associated with an increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), reduced psychological and emotional well-being, lower academic achievement, teen pregnancy, and out-of-wedlock childbearing. Many of these risks are avoidable if teens choose to abstain from sexual activ�ity. Abstinence is the surest way to avoid the risk of STDs and unwed childbearing.

Abstinence education teaches abstinence from sexual activity outside marriage as the expected stan�dard for all school age children and stresses the social, psychological, and health benefits of absti�nence. Abstinence programs also provide youths with valuable life and decision-making skills that lay the foundation for personal responsibility and devel�oping healthy relationships and marriages later in life. These programs emphasize preparing young people for future-oriented goals.

Opponents of abstinence education contend that these programs fail to influence teen sexual behav�ior. At this stage, the available evidence supports neither this assessment nor the wholesale dismissal of authentic abstinence education programs.

Studies have shown that abstinence-based programs have effectively reduced sexual activity and delayed the initiation of sexual activity. For example, the latest evaluation, which examined seventh graders in northern Virginia, reported that, one year after the program, students who received abstinence education were half as likely as non-participants to initiate sexual activity. This result accounted for the existing background differences between program participants and non-participants. That is, the evaluation compared near-identical students except for their participation in the abstinence education program.

Abstinence education equips today's youth with the knowledge of the positive benefits of delaying sexual activity and decision-making skills to help them achieve their future goals. Before cutting federal funding for abstinence education programs, policymakers should revisit the original argument for supporting abstinence education--reducing rising teen pregnancy and unwed births--and consider all of the evidence that indicates its effectiveness.

http://www.heritage.org...
Debate Round No. 1
TheHolyTaco

Pro

What my opponent does not seem to realize is that, in fact, abstinence-only education does not reduce the amount of sexual activity at all. However, it does not raise the amount of sexual activity either. Once a teenager who was taught only abstinence has sexual intercourse, they are more likely to engage in further unprotected sex.

Allow me to debunk some of the so-called facts my opponent has stated:
1. "Studies have shown that abstinence-based programs have effectively reduced sexual activity and delayed the initiation of sexual activity." That is 100% incorrect. It does not reduce sexual activity or delayed the initiation of sexual activity. There is no evidence that this is true.
"An assessment of the peer-reviewed, published research reveals no evidence that abstinence-only programs delay sexual initiation or reduce STIs or pregnancy." (Collins, et al, 3)

2. "Abstinence education teaches abstinence from sexual activity outside marriage as the expected stan�dard for all school age children and stresses the social, psychological, and health benefits of absti�nence." According to many state laws, the age of consent is 16, regardless of marriage. In regard to my opponent's point about health benefits, yes, there are many physical health benefits involved. However, those same exact benefits can be achieved with a condom, both male and female.

3. "...reducing rising teen pregnancy and unwed births--and consider all of the evidence that indicates its effectiveness."
"Even though there is great enthusiasm in some circles for abstinence-only interventions, the evidence does not support abstinence-only interventions as the best way to keep young people from unintended pregnancy," (Klein 0)
Many great and effective methods such as condoms, spermicides, and Depo-Provera.

[http://ari.ucsf.edu...]
[http://www.msnbc.msn.com...]
rawrxqueen

Con

"abstinence-only education does not reduce the amount of sexual activity at all."
I have evidence stated in my case that it does.

"Once a teenager who was taught only abstinence has sexual intercourse, they are more likely to engage in further unprotected sex."
However, with abstinence only education, teenagers are less likely to have sexual intercourse in the first place.

To defend my case (I will use the same numbers that my opponent did):
1. I did provide evidence to support this claim, so therefore the PRO cannot say there is no evidence to support it. My evidence was: "For example, the latest evaluation, which examined seventh graders in northern Virginia, reported that, one year after the program, students who received abstinence education were half as likely as non-participants to initiate sexual activity. This result accounted for the existing background differences between program participants and non-participants. That is, the evaluation compared near-identical students except for their participation in the abstinence education program."

2. The age of consent just means that that is the age you are allowed to have sexual intercourse without partental consent. Also, condoms are not 100% effective. The pours of the condom are bigger then the AIDS and STD viruses (and also the sperm cells).

3. As I stated, there IS evidence that abstinence-only education IS the best way to keep young people from unintended pregnancy. I also stated that birth-control methods are not always effective.

Basically, my opponent keeps repeating themselves and ignores the evidence I provided. They also fail to address the points I stated about the benefits of abstinence. Teaching abstinence is effective, practical, favorable, and beneficial. For these reasons, you should vote CON.
Debate Round No. 2
TheHolyTaco

Pro

My opponent made some good points. However, in schools nationwide, they are constantly only considering abstinence as the only form of birth control/other forms are ineffective. Without the proper education, if peers and society puts enough pressure on the individual(s) they will have sex. That is why abstinence should be taught in schools, but not the only form of birth control. Abstinence, without no doubt from either side of this debate, is the only 100% effective method preventing unwanted pregnancy and STDs. Abstinence, however, can be broken down easily, especially if the individual(s) are young and have low self-esteems. As for the study on seventh-graders in northern Virginia: The age group, in my opinion, is too low to be even considered a valid argument against my opinion. Many twelve to thirteen year olds, have not made their own decision about sex or the forms of birth control.

Two facts:
-By age 15, only 13% of teens have ever had sex. However, by the time they reach age 19, seven in 10 teens have engaged in sexual intercourse. (Abma JC et al)
-A sexually active teen who does not use contraceptives has a 90% chance of becoming pregnant within a year. (Harlap)

More Opinions/Facts Against My Opponent:

1. "Also, condoms are not 100% effective. The pours of the condom are bigger then the AIDS and STD viruses (and also the sperm cells)." The federal requirements are very strict on condom production. You can be sure that no holes will be in any condom found in the US. Even if there were holes, wouldn't the people involved in the activity change the condom?

2. The problem with abstinence-only education is that, many teenagers who chose not to be abstinent who are taught abstinence-only do not know the correct way of using birth control methods or do not know other forms of birth control.

3. I personally believe that abstinence should be taught as an option to other forms of birth control. So if they choose not to be abstinent they can at least be safe from STDs and/or pregnancy.

[http://www.guttmacher.org...]
rawrxqueen

Con

Teaching children about the correct way of using birth control methods should not be an option offered in schools. That is a topic that should be taught out of the classroom, perhaps in a work shop, or by parents or peers. By teaching children these method, schools are encouraging teens to have sex. Teaching both could be the equivalent to saying, "Don't do meth kids...but if you do, then be sure to (insert safety tip here)." You can't tell a kid not to do something, tell him how to do it "safely," and then not expect him to do it.

Despite claims to the contrary, there are 10 scientific evaluations showing that real abstinence programs can be highly effective in reducing early sexual activity. Moreover, real abstinence education is a fairly young field; thus, the number of evaluations of abstinence programs at present is somewhat limited. In the near future, many additional evaluations that demonstrate the effectiveness of abstinence education will become available.

Conventional "safe sex" programs (sometimes erroneously called "abstinence plus" programs) place little or no emphasis on encouraging young people to abstain from early sexual activity. Instead, such programs strongly promote condom use and implicitly condone sexual activity among teens. Nearly all such programs contain material and messages that would be alarming and offensive to the overwhelming majority of parents.

Significantly, research shows that condom use offers relatively little protection (from "zero" to "some") for herpes and no protection from the deadly HPV. A review of the scientific literature reveals that, on average, condoms failed to prevent the transmission of the HIV virus--which causes the immune deficiency syndrome known as AIDS--between 15 percent and 31 percent of the time. It should not be surprising, therefore, that while condom use has increased over the past 25 years, the spread of STDs has likewise continued to rise.

http://www.heritage.org...

Condoms, while better than nothing, should not be promoted so much in schools. It is one thing to inform children of their options and a complete different thing to promote safe sex as a lifestyle. By making the idea of safe sex more attractive to teenagers you are also making sex itself more attractive. You are in a way telling them that they can be safe having sex and this has an encouraging effect to start. By making them feel that by using these products they are protected from any risks it only makes them more eager to start having sexual relations. They are physically not prepared for that and the medical reasons for why they are at greater risk is specifically related to females. A 15-year-old girl has a 1-in-8 chance of developing pelvic inflammatory disease simply by having sex, whereas a 24-year-old woman has only a 1-in-80 chance in that situation. And pills and condoms are not as effective with teenagers, mainly because teens are more apt to forget to take the pill or to tear a condom. Between 9% and 18% of teenage girls using the contraceptive pill become pregnant.

There is without a doubt an STD epidemic amongst teenagers at the moment, but for quite some time the media and schools have been teaching these teenagers about how to have safe sex. We must now take a hard look at the message of safe sex which is being taught to these teens. People believe that if the teens can be taught how to have safe sex, the number of pregnant teens and the rate of STD infection will reduced dramatically. But they've been teaching them this for some time now and the statistics and our own common sense tell us something different. What if the increasing number of teenagers that are sexually active and that have STDs are actually the consequence of promoting safe sex to them?

For these reasons, the CON side has won the debate.
Debate Round No. 3
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by simpleton 4 years ago
simpleton
If you're asking me where the evidence for my claim that she suggested it several times, it is, as one would expect, in the debate. R1, p3; R3, p1 and p3. However, if you're suggesting that she offers no evidence for the implications, your question asserts a false assumption, asserted with the use of "but", that you're contradicting a claim that I made.

I assume that her source is the site listed. Regardless, since Pro didn't challenge, I assume he or she accepts the claim as true.
Posted by TheHolyTaco 4 years ago
TheHolyTaco
But where is the evidence she kept on mentioning? Where are her sources?
Posted by simpleton 4 years ago
simpleton
Merriam-Webster; definition of suggest 1c; to mention or imply as a possibility.

The definition doesn't mention intent, therefore, a suggestion must be contingent on the perception of the receiver.

Basis for my claim:

"There is strong and widespread support..." in R1, as well as, a number of other similar references throughout.

Unless I overlooked it, the suggestion was not countered.
Posted by TheHolyTaco 4 years ago
TheHolyTaco
parental rights? rights of the majority? umm...she never once suggested that
Posted by simpleton 4 years ago
simpleton
I think Con has it. She suggests that parental rights and the rigt of the majority are superior to concerns of effectiveness. Further, she countered the effectiveness argument with her own.

At this time, I can't see how anyone can consider Pro the winner.
Posted by WetCement 4 years ago
WetCement
Comparing sexual intercourse to meth use is an extremely weak analogy. If one believes that other forms of sexual safety (besides abstinence) should be taught outside the home, why not argue that ALL subject matter regarding sexuality be taught outside the home? Its certainly not a far cry from con's arguments.
Posted by LeafRod 4 years ago
LeafRod
LOL, nice.

Anyway, I am strongly against abstinence-only education for many reasons, but one of the more general reasons is that it is simply keeping people ignorant, which is not OK. Teenagers should be able to learn about all of the possibilities, not kept in the dark so that their decisions are made for them.
Posted by MTGandP 4 years ago
MTGandP
"Over 90 percent of parents, at a minimum, want teens to be taught to abstain from sexual activity until they have at least finished high school."
Where is this statistic from?
Posted by Maikuru 4 years ago
Maikuru
C: Pro - Providing a source does not give Con license to simply copy and paste entire paragraphs in the place of arguments.
S/G: Tie
A: Tie - Con's information is support of abstinence programs was compelling. However, she did little to explain how such programs are sufficient in the face of mixed approach methods, which include both abstinence and birth control education. Also, as I stated before, many of her arguments were lifted fom elsewhere.
S: Pro
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TheHolyTaco
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