Texas has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy and teen births in the country — and 22% of teens who give birth in that state already have a baby — but they’re refusing to stop the abstinence-only sex ed and have now decided that the way to fix it is to put up a website saying, “Hey, you guys should just stop having sex.”
In light of those statistics, how is Texas’ Department of Health hoping to help prevent future unintended pregnancies among young women? By spending $1.2 million to build an abstinence-only website that doesn’t include any mention of contraception.
The “Our Town 4 Teens” site notes some sobering facts — Texas ranks first in the nation for taxpayer expenditures related to teen pregnancy, for example — but doesn’t actually offer concrete solutions for disseminating sexual health information. As the Texas Observer notes, “it seems primarily to be a home for buzzwords like ‘community mobilization,’ ‘strategic action’ and ‘conceptual framework.’ ”When the Texas Observer asked a health department official why “Our Town 4 Teens” doesn’t mention anything about birth control, a spokesperson replied, “The campaign focuses on the delay of sexual activity as a way to decrease the teen birth rate and the rate of sexually transmitted diseases. State laws guide the agency, and as a general strategy Texas is an abstinence-first state. Abstinence is our first choice for teens.”
It’s just so laughable. “Hey, I know we’ve been teaching kids in school not to have sex every year but they just keep doing it. But maybe if we get one of those newfangled website thingies the kids love these days, it’ll work better.” Yeah, maybe you should Tweet abstinence-only messages to them, cuz that’ll make them stop having sex.