Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Compulsory sex education won't reduce teenage pregnancy

Sex education campaigners remind me of Marxists around the time of the fall of the Berlin wall. As one communist regime after another collapsed towards the end of 1989, they told us that communism hadn't failed, it simply hadn't been implemented properly. But sometimes you have to ask yourself, if something has failed so miserably, maybe there is something inherently wrong with it.

Over the last 20 years, sex education has become ever more explicit, and is taught to an ever larger number of schoolchildren, yet the rates of teenage pregnancy have skyrocketed. And what's the response of sexual health campaigners? Even more explicit sex education, and make it compulsory (currently only one in 2,500 parents withdraws children from sex education classes).

The Times reports that sexual health charities have warned that allowing parents to opt out, even if it involved only a small number, was an infringement of young people’s rights - in other words, your children do not belong to you, but belong to the State.

Sex education isn't necessarily a bad thing as long as there is some emphasis on abstinence, but heaven forbid we "prevent young people from making informed choices". To quote Simon Blake, national director of the sexual health charity Brook: “Young people need to understand the law – that you can get contraception, that you can have an abortion – and understand the health benefits of practising safer sex. It would not be right for anyone to tell them that this is wrong, but it is OK for them to be told that some people believe it is wrong.”- So let's follow the logic of his argument - Maybe I shouldn't tell my children that child abuse and child exploitation is wrong. After all, it's just that I believe it's wrong and they need to make their own mind up on the subject.

We have no problem telling people that it's wrong to drive fast, that they should abstain from smoking, and that they should drink less, so why are we so squemish about telling people to abstain from sex?