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The U.S. has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the developed world, with New Mexico leading the 50 states, followed by Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Texas is tied with Oklahoma for fifth highest teen pregnancy rates, but is first for repeat teen pregnancies and third for HIV rates. It’s not surprising, given that 25% of Texas school districts don'teven teach sex-education and almost 60% teach abstinence-only.
Abstinence is a good message, but by itself is not enough. For example, abstinence isn’t effective against rape, nor is it 100% effective against STDs, some of which can be transferred by skin-to-skin contact, shared needles, and non-intercourse forms of sexual contact. Babies can even be born with STDs. Even couples that do abstain until marriage still need to know how to plan their families and how to avoid disease.
A newly formed community action organization called Treble-Up has formed to start a discussion of educational policy in Texas. Research shows that teen pregnancies are the lowest in states with comprehensive sex education, and highest in those states with abstinence-only education. Maybe it’s time to talk about “abstinence-plus” education in Texas.
Treble-Up has now launched a website at www.treble-up.com providing a free book on contraception. This book on “Marital Education” tackles the teen pregnancy and high disease rates head-on. It provides an easy-to-read summary of each type of modern pregnancy and disease prevention method, including fertility awareness based methods, barrier methods, hormonal methods, IUDs, and the new long acting reversible contraceptives, known as “LARCs”. It discusses the most common reasons for failure of each type of birth control, and provides detailed instructions for use and for reducing the failure rate. Using two or even three types of birth control at the same time provides overlapping protection and can improve the users odds of success.
“Treble-Up—Use three forms of birth control.”
Tamsen Valoir, Ph.D.
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