November 07, 2017
The key to healthy high schoolers might be where no one was looking: the bedroom! In last year's report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), officials made it clear that teaching kids to save sex for marriage might just spare them from a long list of other health risks. Students in grades 9-12 who made positive decisions about sex were just as likely (or more!) to avoid other dangerous behaviors.
That's great news for parents, who were thrilled with the government's announcement that more kids were postponing intimacy than ever before. For years, moms and dads of both parties have pushed for a conservative approach to sex ed. Now, with sexually transmitted diseases through the roof, you'd think there wouldn't be any objections to teaching kids how to protect themselves. Wrong. Liberals, who hate when healthy decision-making gets in the way of sexual promiscuity, are pitching a fit about the House's decision to spend money on the only approach with 100-percent success rate: abstinence.
The anti-science party is outraged that Republicans would let research, parents, and common sense dictate how they approach sex ed. But fortunately, leaders like the House's Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) and Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) aren't ruffled. They know that the Championing Healthy Kids Act, which would pump money into state block grants that fund sexual risk avoidance (SRA) programs, is the best decision for America's young people.
"The continuation of this funding allows over one million students across the country to receive the information and skills they need to avoid sexual risk while being empowered to realize their future goals and dreams," said one of the country's biggest proponents of SRA, Ascend. The group, which used to be led by now-HHS heavyweight Valerie Huber, was thrilled that this bill "recognizes and supports growing consensus among parents, schools, legislators, and medical professionals that our youth need and deserve an approach to sex education that helps them achieve optimal health." That's quite a change from the last administration, whose own agencies admitted that Obama's programs left 80 percent of students worse off or no different than their peers.
Just as encouraging, the Trump administration is taking the abortion, STD, and teen pregnancy problems of this country seriously, deciding to move forward with a $10 million dollar study on what works in sex ed. In conjunction with HHS's Administration for Children and Families, the government will be asking questions like "how delaying sex can affect a teen economically, how social media can help influence teen decision-making, and how teens who have engaged in 'risky behaviors' can make 'healthier choices in the future.'" They'll also try to get to the bottom of why teen pregnancies are dropping while STDs are skyrocketing. It's a huge shift from the mentality of the Obama years -- one that our young people desperately need and, as many surveys show, want.
Our deepest thanks to the House Energy and Commerce Committee for making this important issue a priority.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.