Report Challenges Texas Teaching Abstinence-Only Sex Education

Chris Fox
September 20, 2019 - 8:13 am
Texas Teaching Abstinence-Only Sex Education

Credit: Chris Fox, 1080 KRLD

AUSTIN (1080 KRLD) - With the teen birth rate in Texas continuing to rank among the highest in the nation and the majority of high school seniors saying they are already sexually active, the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States today released a report calling for an overhaul of the state’s failed abstinence-only approach to sex education.

“It’s past time for Texas to teach students the truth about sex education,” said Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund. “That means teaching them not just about abstinence, but also how to protect themselves from disease and unintended pregnancy when they decide at whatever point in their lives not to be abstinent. This common-sense approach will help students make healthy, responsible decisions based on facts as well as their own and their families’ values.”

“If we truly want sex education to benefit our young people, we need to base curricula off of what works – and that shouldn’t be up for debate,” said Jennifer Driver, the state policy director for SIECUS. “Comprehensive sex education is rooted in evidence whereas Texas’ current abstinence-only approach is driven purely by ideology. It's 2019….We are failing our young people when we provide them with anything less than what they deserve: sex education that is accurate, inclusive, and empowering.”

The State Board of Education has just begun a major revision of health curriculum standards, which include sex education, for grades K-12. This is the first revision of the health standards in more than two decades. The board in 2004 adopted abstinence-only health textbooks that are still in Texas classrooms.

The vast majority of Texas school districts – 83 percent in 2016 – teach abstinence-only or nothing at all about sex education.

Online: Texas Freedom Network Education Fund Report