Public rejects abstinence-only sex ed

January 11, 2015, 7:33 AM GMT+0

A large majority of Americans say that kids should be taught about birth control, but parents are more likely to support abstinence-only education

Over the past two decades America's teen pregnancy rate has plummetted, with the number of teenaged girls who get pregnant annually dropping from nearly 120 per 1,000 to less than 60. Experts in the field say that this decline is almost certainly due to better and more widespread use of contraceptives by teenagers. However, in many other areas of the country, predominantly in the South and West, schools do not provide education regarding the use of contraceptives and focus their sex education on physiology and the importance of abstaining from sex.

Overall, 66% of Americans say that teens should be taught about various forms of birth control during sex education, while 15% say that they should only be taught to avoid having sex, so-called 'abstinence only' education and another 7% say that sex education shouldn't be taught at all. The 22% of Americans who have children under the age of 18 are much more likely than everyone else to say that abstinence only is the way to go. 22% of American parents support abstinence only, compared to only 12% of non-parents.

People in the Northeast (79%) are the most likely of any demographic group to say that sex education should involve contraception, something only 60% of people in the South agree with. 20% of Southerners support abstinence only, while 9% think that sex education should not be taught in schools.

Full poll results can be found here.