By Diana Hsieh
In abstinence-only sex education classes across the country, kids are taught that condoms have a 30 percent failure rate, that the pill causes cancer, and that pregnancy can result from touching another person's genitals -- if the curriculum mentions contraception at all. It's no wonder that many young adults don't understand how birth control works. A new Guttmacher study quizzed 1,241 sexually active young adults between 18 and 29 about contraception, asking them to choose "true" or "false" for basic statements like "all IUDs are banned from use in the United States" or "condoms have an expiration date." More than half of young men and a quarter of young women received a D or F on the quiz. Six in 10 underestimated the effectiveness of oral contraceptives.As discussed in this Salon article -- Why Obama's in bed with abstinence-only education -- the Obama Administration funds ridiculously ill-informed abstinence-only sex education, including the Heritage Keepers Abstinence Education.
Unsurprisingly, the more young people knew about birth control, the less likely they were to have unprotected sex. For each correct response a woman scored on the quiz, her odds of expecting unprotected sex in the next three months decreased by 9 percent. Meanwhile, her chances of using a hormonal or long-acting reversible method of birth control increased by 17 percent.
And it's not as if the ones forgoing contraception are ready to become parents: 69 percent of the women and almost half of the men claimed to be "committed to avoiding pregnancy." A full 40 percent of them agreed that birth control really doesn't matter -- "when it is your time to get pregnant," they agreed, "it will happen." In other words, a significant number of young people's "commitment" to remaining childless involves crossing their fingers, not wearing condoms or swallowing pills.
The government shouldn't be involved in sex education -- or education -- at all... but given that it does so already, it ought not fund dangerous religious dogma.