Longtime activist Jane Fonda is leading a campaign against abstinence-only sex education in schools.
She told “Good Morning America” that “Abstinence until marriage is based on a world that isn’t out there.” She said she is stunned that the government is giving $50 million a year for five years to schools to teach abstinence-only sex education. Durex, a condom manufacturer, is supporting Fonda’s campaign.
Many studies have shown that comprehensive sex education leads to lower rates of sexual activity and pregnancy among teens. The U.S. teen pregnancy rate is more than double that of other industrialized countries, whose teens have sex at the same percentage as American teens. In more sexually open countries such as Canada, England, France, the Netherlands and Sweden, sex education is actively promoted and contraceptives are readily available. When children start receiving sex ed in elementary school, they are more likely to delay sexual activity, and to use protection when they become sexually active. Condom distribution in high schools has also been shown to increase the percentage of students practicing safer sex, while not increasing the overall level of sexual activity.
Only 22 states require schools to provide AIDS education and sex ed. Fifteen states require only AIDS education, and 13 states require neither. Five states have actually passed laws against comprehensive sex ed, and 19 states prevent condom distribution in schools. The National Education Association has campaigned for consistent, comprehensive sex ed programs in schools.