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Texas Freedom Network report reveals 600% growth in abstinence-plus and evidence-based sex education

Texas legislators stand steadfastly beside abstinence-only programs, which haven’t been changed in the past 15 years.

A recent report on sex education released by the Texas Freedom Network found that abstinence-plus and evidence-based sex education approaches have gained significant ground on the abstinence-only approach most commonly taught in Texas schools. The number of Texas school districts teaching about contraception has grown from 3.6% in 2007-2008 to 25.4% in 2011, a growth of over 600%. This is good news for Texas, which ranks third-highest nationally in teen pregnancies and second-highest in repeat teen births.

The study reported the following break down in sex education for 2010-2011:

Abstinence-only: 74.6%
Abstinence programs: 27.2%
Textbook only: 47.4%

Abstinence-plus: 25.4%
Worth the Wait: 19.5%
Big Decisions: 4.1%
Other programs: 1.8%

Abstinence-only programs are characterized by either mentioning contraception in terms of failure rates or not mentioning it at all. Abstinence-only programs have been criticized for teaching misleading or incorrect information about condoms and sexually transmitted infections, relying on fear-based teaching methods and shaming, and promoting gender stereotypes and biases based on sexual orientation and gender. 

The growth in abstinence-plus and evidence-based sex education reflects the fact that 80% of Texas voters believe that some form of contraception should be taught in addition to abstinence according to a 2010 statewide poll conducted for TFNEF by the national firm of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner. However, this belief is not shared by Governor Perry and conservative Texas legislators, who continue to ignore the facts and stand steadfastly beside abstinence-only programs, which haven’t been changed in the past 15 years.

Read the executive summary of the report here.

Read the full report here.