The federal government's "no sex without marriage" message isn't just for kids anymore.
Now the government is targeting unmarried adults up to age 29 as part of its abstinence-only programs, which include millions of dollars in federal money that will be available to the states under revised federal grant guidelines for 2007.
While I believe that abstaining from sex until one has made a commitment to a life partner is empowering and beneficial to one's health, I'm bothered that the government is spending money to tell adults not to have sex. It seems invasive, divisive, and a little rude. Here are some related statistics that might affect your opinion one way or another:
- According to the National Center for Health Statistics, among females 78% of 18-year-olds and 87% of 19-year-olds have had some form of sex. Among males 72% of 18-year-olds and 80% of 19-year-olds have had some form of sex.
- According to the USA Today article, "Government data released last month show that 998,262 births in 2004 were to unmarried women 19-29."
- According to a 1999 study, abstinence (when considered as a form of birth control) has a user-failure rate of between 26% and 86% percent.
When it comes to sex education for adults, I think that offering an honest assessment of birth control methods and health risks associated with sex is the best way to go. Give people good information and trust them to take this information into account when making choices.