Lately I’ve been following an online discussion between progressives and conservatives on the subject of abortions for teens. The argument of the progressives (besides the idea that abortion should be fully-funded and allowable at any time, for any reason) is that we need eternal sex education for our young people. “We need effective, very effective sex education at early ages mandatory for all,” wrote one woman. “Ask a lot of 14 to 16 year old (fertile) females what can cause pregnancy and you will get some bizarre answers. Free condoms and birth control pills, free use of RU 486 and effective sex education and that will nearly eliminate unwanted pregnancies.”
Putting aside the dangerous concept of mandatory progressive one-size-fits-all sex education for children starting at “early ages,” this comment got me thinking: Our daughters are 14 and 16, right in the “fertile” age group this woman mentions. And since they’re homeschooled, they’ve never had “sex education” per se. Certainly they’ve never learned the finer points of using condoms, birth control pills, RU 486, or other methods of controlling fertility. And needless to say they’ve never darkened the door of Planned Parenthood. (See how deprived our girls are?)
But since they were three years old and noticed the antics of Mr. Rooster with the hens, they’ve never been unclear about the connection between mating and babies.
In this information age, how on earth can any teen be ignorant about the connection between sex and pregnancy? While I agree there are some bizarre myths floating around on the issue of under what conditions a pregnancy can occur, I don’t know that anyone who has even the mildest connection with the Real World who cannot grasp the correlation that pregnancy is always caused by sex (in one form or another).
I don’t blame teen pregnancy on (just) ignorance; I blame teen pregnancy on a lack of self-control. For every teen who thinks, “It can’t happen to me” when faced with the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy after irresponsible sex, there are other teens who think, “I’d better not do this” before they have irresponsible sex, and then don’t have to worry about pregnancy at all. The former are NOT practicing self-control. The latter ARE.
As I see it, that’s one of the advantages of homeschooling. Nearly all homeschooling parents teach their children sex education by osmosis because they teach their children self-control. They generally teach their children right and wrong, rather than, “If it feels right, then do it.”
Without the constant exposure to a peer culture that encourages and rewards a lack of self-control ("Oooh, you stud! You scored last night!"), homeschooled kids tend to hang around both adults and other (homeschooled) peers who understand that self-control is one of the most critical qualities to acquire in order to live a decent life.
So what kind of sex education do homeschoolers receive? In all likelihood, homeschooled kids are going to see intimacy taking place within the proper context (i.e., two married and committed parents). They’ll also take note of the damage to individuals, families, and society when sex happens outside the proper context. They’ll learn that, while birth control has its place, its place is not unlimited and uncontrolled sex while single (especially while under age).
With all the discussions about what young people “should” be learning in sex education, a logical question to ask is: what’s more effective? Learning self-control and the proper time and place for intimacy (i.e. marriage) despite a body full of raging hormones? Or learning about all the tricks of the trade to have baby-free sex wherever and whenever they want?
Which options will promote happiness and stability on a long-term basis?
In short, I believe that learning true sex education (which includes self-control) would virtually eliminate the need for any of the services offered by places like Planned Parenthood.
But of course, this assumes that parents are stepping up to the plate and teaching their teens real sex education.