In a move that could shift the U.S. decades backward in terms of sex positivity, the Trump administration has appointed Valerie Huber — a staunch abstinence advocate — to an office at the Department of Health and Human Services that oversees sex education programs.
Since Huber has a history of advocating abstinence-only education — she's the former president and CEO of Ascend, an organization that preaches abstinence until marriage — her appointment to this office worries advocates of comprehensive sex ed.
"I think it’s immoral to withhold information to help people become sexually healthy adults," Debra Hauser, president of the sex ed nonprofit Advocates for Youth, told the Huffington Post. "We have not taught young people the information they need about consent and what does a healthy relationship look like."
Research has proven that abstinence-only programs increase teenagers' risk of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. Recent research into the incredibly high teen pregnancy rate in Texas connected the statistics (teen births in Texas are about 50% higher than the national average) to the 60% of schools in the state that teach abstinence, among other things.
Comprehensive sex ed teaches that abstinence is the only 100% effective way to avoid pregnancy or STIs, but also educates young people about condoms and other forms of contraception, according to Advocates For Youth.
Given that Huber now has a strong voice in deciding which pregnancy prevention programs get government funding, sex educators like Hauser are worried that access to comprehensive sex education could become a thing of the past.
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