sex ed is a human right

These days, it’s pretty hard to find scientific research proving the benefits of abstinence-only education. In fact, study after study has found that such programs fail to prevent teens from contracting STDs or getting pregnant, let alone having sex before marriage. But a conference held at Columbia University in New York found something else: Abstinence-only programs infringe on teens’ basic human rights!

The term "human rights" refers to the entitlements that all humans on the planet should be allowed to access in order to live with decency and freedom. Along with things like civil and political rights and equality before the law, the rights to health care and education are included as two very important human rights.

Yet on some levels, teens in America are being shortchanged. According to the Columbia conference, forcing abstinence-only education on American youth is denying them rights.

As the conference publication explains, "Access to complete and accurate sexual health information has been recognized as a basic human right


Posted in: Health, Sex & Relationships, The State of Sex Ed
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  • it will teach me more about sex and stds

  • BRIANNE

    I can't spell "you're" right.

  • Brianne

    Your right, abstinence-only education is not right. There are many people out there that will have sex anyways, even if they are taught it is wrong, and they need to be informed. While I am personally pro-abstinence and plan to wait until I am married to have sex, I find myself often telling my siblings "I hope that you'll wait, but if you don't, please wear a condom."
    If people aren't taught, they can never learn. Then when they come upon a situation, they have no prior information of how to react. Teaching birth-control along with abstinence allows a student to know more and make wiser choices.

  • Anali.

    Yes! I 100% agree that this is a human rights issue. Decisions that involve sex affect our health, our body, our self-image. In order to make the best decisions– that would allow us to live with decency and freedom– we must have access to information that could possibly affect our sexual health.
    I also believe that school is the best place for teens to receive comprehensive sexual health education. Think about it, where do we spend most of our time?? SCHOOL!
    With the rate of sexually active teens increasing, we cannot afford to continue to view sex as a taboo issue. We need to educate our youth–otherwise we need to stop criticizing them for the 'bad' decisions they make. How can we expect youth to take responsibility for their bodies if they do not know all the consequences of their actions?

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  • There was a thirteen-yr-old who posted under that What's Normal In Highschool article thing from earlier, and she said that you shouldn't worry about a condom because wearing one is about as good as not wearing one.
    The abstinence-only folks who teach that think it'll scare the teens outta getting it on, but it just makes it so they end up not using the most basic protection. Dearest God, protect them in their ignorance. Ignorance that's the fault of the school system! They aren't to blame, and they shouldn't have to suffer!

  • hannah

    it doesnt make sense to me that anyone would agree with abstainence only education. i have no clue.

  • crista

    I don't support abstinence only ed at all…?
    It's really very simple to talk to your doctor, or pick up a book at the library, or come on this very website here. If you want to have sex, it's the responsible thing to do to maybe go a smidge out of your way to get information about it.

  • andrew

    to crista (below):
    unfortunately, the first part of your view is narrow minded, and that portion of your view and others who share that view is part of the reason why there are so many abstinence-only education.
    there are millions of US citizens who do not have easy access to the internet, libraries, caring parents, and etc.; also, peers and parents can tell you wrong information; furthermore, they may have other priorities ahead of worrying about health issues. Therefore, even if they may be responsible, they may not have the resources (including time) to do the research.
    But I am glad that you still see some need for it…

  • crista

    Honestly, I don't see the need for sex ed. It's 2008, if you're not going to take advantage of all the resources available to you to get informed before you have sex, you shouldn't be having sex in the first place. I didn't have sex ed until I was 14, but I knew everything about protection, sex, and STDs, anatomy, etc by age 12.
    But I realize many people are not responsible enough to realize they need to do their research, so we do need comprehensive sex ed. It's not so much a right, but a nessescity. Our world is grossly overpopuled, its a shame that so many are against such a simple thing to keep it under control, not to mention controling the spread of disease.

  • Elinor

    You know, I've been saying this for years, and I'm glad to hear it said by an official organisation. I've no problem with abstinence, if it's the right choice for a person great. It's the 'only' in abstinence only education that I object to. Teens need the information to make informed choices about their health and wellbing, abstinence only deprives them of that, so yes I would say abstinence only sex ed violates basic human rights.

  • melrose

    I'm personally abstaining from sex, which to be honest is pretty rare for teens to do today. Teens should be taught to practice safe sex at an early age for this reason. I guess it's pretty much of a human rights issue, I just wish this blog will bring up other controversial issues that should be looked at as a human right also.

  • Emilee

    Schools should teach sex ed. Not all parents will even allow the mention of sex in their house. If we can't learn from our parents, the next best thing is school. At least there, we get the information and it's only slightly awkward since we only see that teacher for 30-45 minutes a day.

  • ari

    totally agree with mila.

  • Mila

    Yeah, I mean, where else are they gonna learn about it? Porn? Prents?
    Some parents don't know what's best for their teens.

  • Denise

    I think it is a rights issue. Sex ed is very importaint for teens health. Abstandace only education does not teach teens how to be healthy, it tells them to have self control. Sex ed teaches teens how to remain healthy and safe. So I think all teens should learn about sex in school.