This was Gov. Rick Perry a few months ago:
I’m going to tell you from my own personal life, abstinence works!
Well, Gov. Perry, no. No, it does not. Not if you’re talking about abstinence-only programs in schools, as the governor was last October in an interview with the Texas Tribune.
We wonder how many Texas teens have been visited by the stork in the months since Gov. Perry made this comment.
Since this is Texas, the answer is probably way too many.
We’re bringing up the quote again today because May 4 is National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, an area in which the state of Texas does a woefully poor job and Gov. Perry’s comment is indicative of the stick-your-fingers-in-your-ears, head-in-the-sand mentality that is costing Texas taxpayers $1 billion annually in teen childbearing costs.
Texas consistently ranks near the top of states with the highest teen birth rates. It also has the highest rate of repeat births to teenage girls.
Yet the state almost exclusively relies on teaching abstinence-only in public schools to get these rates under control. More than 9 in 10 Texas school districts teach abstinence-only and the state spends the most federal dollars on what is clearly a failed policy.
But, “abstinence works!” according to Gov. Perry.
Unfortunately, he isn’t the only one doing his best to ignore the problem. In the current legislative session, at least two bills have been filed that would direct school districts to teach responsible, age-appropriate and evidence-based sex-education in schools. Those bills — HB 1624 by state Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, and SB 852 by state Sens. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston and Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio — have yet to get so much as a committee hearing.
So on the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, the Texas Freedom Network is calling on lawmakers to stop ignoring the teen pregnancy problem in Texas.
NATIONAL DAY TO PREVENT TEEN PREGNANCY: TIME TO STOP IGNORING THE PROBLEM IN TEXAS
Texas Lawmakers Must Change Abstinence-only Policies That Fail Teens, Taxpayers
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 4, 2011
On the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, the president of the Texas Freedom Network is calling on Texas lawmakers to stop ignoring proposed legislation addressing the state’s teen pregnancy crisis and its high costs to taxpayers.
“It could not be clearer that the abstinence-only policies common in our public schools are failing teens and families,” TFN President Kathy Miller said. “Yet the Legislature this year hasn’t held even one public hearing on bills promoting responsible, evidence-based sex education that would give teens the information they need to protect themselves and make important life decisions.”
HB 1624 by state Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, and SB 852 by state Sens. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston and Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, which promote evidence-based, age-appropriate sex education, have so far failed to get a committee hearing in either the Texas House or Senate.
Texas is by far the largest recipient of federal abstinence-only funding, and a 2009 report from the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund (www.justsaydontknow.org) found that 94 percent of the state’s school districts relied on abstinence-only instruction.
Even so, Texas has the nation’s third-highest teen birthrate in the country and the highest rate of repeat births to teens. Moreover, an analysis from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy shows that teen childbearing in Texas cost taxpayers at least $1 billion in 2004.
A May 2010 statewide poll (www.tfn.org/2010poll) from the TFN Education Fund showed that 80 percent of likely voters in Texas support teaching about contraception, along with abstinence, in high school sex education classes.
“Parents know that ignorance won’t protect our kids and that continuing to throw our limited taxpayer dollars away on failed abstinence-only policies is absurd,” Miller said. “It’s time to refocus our approach to the teen pregnancy crisis in Texas and offer comprehensive evidence-based sex education in our schools.”