Being a product of Colorado public education, having lived here for 19 years, I remember my sex education with some skepticism.
In 8th grade, we had a speaker come to our middle school and tell us all to wait until marriage to have sex. According to him, premarital sex was a sure way to contract a STD and ruin all of our relationships for years to come.
I remember fondly my high school biology class, going over forms of contraception for a single class period. I also remember some not so fun things about high school sex education. A friend of mine became pregnant her junior year, she was 17, even though she used what she considered to be an accurate form of contraception.
It was her thinking that if she jumped up and down after intercourse, there was no way she could get pregnant. She’s twenty now and carrying her third child. Another friend of mine got pregnant our senior year, because she thought that if her boyfriend pulled out, there was no way she could get pregnant.
So what happened to that speech we got on remaining abstinent until marriage? How could anyone forget all the contraception information we learned for whole 40 minutes sophomore year? And I’m sure my school wasn’t alone.
Every hour, a Colorado teen under the age of 18 will become pregnant. Twenty-eight percent of Colorado teens surveyed said that their school taught abstinence only. An abstinence only program created and used in Colorado called Friends First teaches that condoms have not been proven effective in blocking the HPV virus; while the CDC states that condoms have been proven to reduce the risk of HPV transmission. With information being taught in similar ways all across the state, I hate to imagine all the young people who are left with too little information to make responsible choices.
The time has come for a change. Young people deserve medically accurate, comprehensive sex education. Not every student is going to choose to remain abstinent, and for those who choose to be sexually active, they deserve information on how to keep themselves safe.
Such a change is on the horizon, it’s called House Bill 1292. This bill would reform Colorado sex education as we know it. This bill would require that all information taught be scientifically based and medically accurate. It would encourage parental involvement and family communication. This new curriculum would emphasize abstinence (it’s the only 100 percent to avoid pregnancy and STDs), but would also provide information about the benefits and side effects of using birth control, including emergency contraception. The information would be medically accurate, culturally sensitive, and age appropriate.
House Bill 1292 would also establish a procedure for parents or guardians to remove a student from parts of the course they feel are contrary to the family’s religious beliefs.
House Bill 1292 just passed through house and is now onto the Colorado senate. Perhaps in the future, things could be different for Colorado students. I think that we might find, given a choice and accurate information, that Colorado youth is capable of making responsible decisions. If this bill passes, it will prove that our state government recognizes a young person’s right to be responsible. For more information on the bill or information on how to get involved, visit PPRM.org.
CSU Vox: Voices for Planned Parenthood