In recent years, comprehensive sexual health programs have seen an increase in federal funding with about $176 million dollars spent in 2016; whereas, abstinence-only programs receive about half of that amount at $85 million dollars, also spent in 2016. Sexual educators can thank Former President Barack Obama for this allocation of funding, but the Obama Administration is something of the past with new laws and regulations coming about. The future of sexual education programs is now in the hands of the new and unpredictable administration of the United States of America.
President Donald Trump and the Republican Party agree that the goal of sexual education programs is to reduce teen pregnancy, which has already been seeing a decline in the past few years alone. Unfortunately, they do not believe comprehensive sexual education is the reason for this lowering statistic. Instead, they believe the decline in teen pregnancy is due to restricting access to abortions and also the upbringing of more abstinence-only programs. These programs teach children that a faithful, married relationship is the only expected standard of sexual behavior and are extremely judgmental to any other type of sexual behavior that is outside the realm of marriage. Not only is this seen as naive in today’s society, but they are also against the use of contraceptives, even though they claim they would like to see a continuous decrease in teenage pregnancy, which contraceptives indeed help with. The underlying religious aspect of these programs prevents children from learning the full scope of what it means to be sexually active and performing healthy sexual behaviors.
Abstinence-only programs are not the answer to the problem of teen pregnancy. These programs try to induce a certain aspect of fear towards teenagers who may or may not be sexually active, which may work on some children, but the lack of “real-world” education puts these children at a disadvantage and at risk. Teens are exposed to many sexual behaviors through social media, their peers, and through subliminal messages each and every day. Without the proper education to prevent diseases from spreading and knowing of various alternative methods to prevent pregnancy, these kids are more likely to harm themselves and others. Most teens graduate high school and enter college without a formal sexual education from public school systems, other than experience. Instead of taking away funding from comprehensive sexual education programs, President Donald Trump should consider the implications behind teaching children that abstinence is the only way to be safe, which could have more backlash than anticipated.