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Abstinence, morals: Relevance questioned

Spurred on by the playful goading of her friends, a teenage girl agrees to accept the football captain’s invitation to dinner and a movie. But what will she to be expected to do?

This scene has never been more common then on college campuses. Colleges around the United States are fighting against sexually active students and encouraging them to attend programs that teach the virtue of abstinence

According to Ceci Connoly of the Washington Post, “In providing nearly $170 million next year to fund groups that teach abstinence only, the Bush administration, with backing of the Republican Congress, is heavily interested in a just-say-no strategy for teens and sex.”

According to Columbia University, 88% of teens who take the “virginity pledge” will have premarital sex. Other surveys say that roughly 50% of teens will have sex before they leave high school.

Many people reject the abstinence groups and wonder how teaching kids about sex will prevent them from doing it.

“We don’t need to study,” Wade Horn, the assistant secretary of the Health and Human services overseeing federal abstinence finances, said. “If I remember my biology correctly, . . .those who are sexually abstinent have a zero chance of becoming pregnant, or getting someone pregnant or contracting a sexually transmitted disease.”

Despite the disagreements, Congress has included a hefty $131 million for abstinence programs with a small reaction from teens.

“Who cares if people have sex,” an anonymous sophomore said. “As long as I don’t see it, I don’t have a problem with it.”

However, as colleges continue their abstinence lectures, they also administer the resources for their students to participate in “safe sex”, that is, using condoms and birth control. But these materials that are proven to prevent an unwanted pregnancy do not always do their job.

“Hormonal contraceptives (the pill, Norplant and Depo-Provera), have horrific side effects for the women who use them,” stated “In addition to abnormal bleeding, serious side effects include high blood pressure, blood clots, heart attacks, migraine headaches, bone loss, and menstrual problems after ending use of the drug.”

Although the nation’s teenage pregnancy rate is going down, teens all over the United States are becoming more comfortable with the “safe sex” idea and feel it is a cure-all for all the side affects.

“So what’s wrong with having sex?” an anonymous student said. “As long as you do it the right way, you’re safe.”

However, only teaching students about abstinence means they will not be as well equipped to prevent an unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

“No matter how you look at it, sex outside of marriage is wrong,” Dori Richardson, ’05, said. “Marriage is a sacred thing shared between a married couple; a marriage between a man and a woman. That is how God meant it to be.”

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