Mississippi Schools, With America’s Highest Teen Pregnancy Rate, Largely Adopt Abstinence-Only Sex Ed
reality makes babieshuffingtonpost.com
* State has nation’s highest teen birth rate
* New law allows abstinence plus sex-ed teaching
* Studies show sex-ed works to prevent teen pregnancy
By Emily Le Coz
TUPELO, Miss., Aug 26 (Reuters) - Artasia Bobo, a 16-year-old Mississippi high school sophomore, was only 12 when she got pregnant and doesn’t recall receiving much in the way of sex education.
Holding her 3-year-old daughter, Annsley, after cheerleading practice recently, the honor-roll student said she’s now an advocate for comprehensive sex education offered as soon as possible.
“What I went through is nothing any girl would want to go through,” she said. “It changed my life. I love my daughter, but if I could go back in time, my life would be a whole lot different.”
Mississippi, the poorest U.S. state, has the nation’s highest teen pregnancy rate. Yet until this year, the state allowed schools to forgo sex education entirely.
That changed with a state law passed last year that mandated school districts adopt either abstinence-only or abstinence-plus sex education policies. Before the new law, any district that did teach sex education had to teach abstinence-only.
Under the new law, a majority of Mississippi’s public school districts this year adopted abstinence-only policies that avoid or downplay the issue of contraceptives.