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Mississippi: More Abstinence Education Proposed for the State With the Highest Teen Pregnancy Rates

Mississippi is the state with the highest teen pregnancy rate in the country. It has rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis among youth practically twice that of the national average.

Additionally, the Sex Information and Education Council of the U.S. reports that:

"Nearly 60 percent of Mississippi high school students report ever having had sexual intercourse compared to 47.8 percent of high school students nationwide. Moreover, teens in the state are nearly twice as likely to have engaged in sexual intercourse before the age of 13, and 50 percent more likely to have had four or more sexual partners than their peers nationwide."

So what’s a good legislator to do in this case? Why propose a law requiring abstinence education, of course!

According to the Clarion Ledger,

“House Bill 837 would mandate school boards adopt a sex education policy by June 30, 2011, of their choosing: abstinence-only or abstinence-plus. Current law does not require schools to have a policy. The bill passed the House 83-32 and awaits Senate action. Last year, a bill that would have required schools to teach more than abstinence failed.”

Nice of them to allow schools to pick between abstinence and....well, abstinence.

It's also worth noting that Mississippi is no stranger to these programs, having accepted millions and millions in federal finding for abstinence programs over the past ten years. In fact, the state accepted close to six million in abstinence funds in 2008 alone.

I understand the reluctance to try something new, but more of a failed program for a state in crisis, well, its nothing short of lunacy.

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