Sex education has been a debated topic for years. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence advocated for cutting sex education funds and Planned Parenthood funding in order to replace those programs with abstinence-only programs. This is highly ironic considering Donald Trump has had multiple affairs, but that's another story. When I heard about how they wanted to cut funding for these vital programs I was enraged. I attended Catholic school from kindergarten to 12th grade and the most "sex education," I received was how girls' and boys' bodies will change via a really odd and outdated video in fifth grade.
I saw firsthand the effects lack of true sex education had on my friends and acquaintances and I knew that if these abstinence-only programs were the only things school was teaching, Ithere would be a rise in STDs and unplanned teen pregnancies.
1. Many of my friends did not know the different types of birth control options.
Birth control plays a pivotal part in most people's sex lives. But for a lot of women, protected sex is not the only reason why they get birth control. Tons of birth control options help with heavy period bleeding, breast tenderness, and even acne. Many of my friends thought that birth control pills were the only option and the only way they could receive them was through their doctor.
Some of my friends wanted to get birth control but also did not want their parents to find out and had no idea that Planned Parenthood could help provide either free of very affordable birth control without their parents knowing. So throughout high school, my friends went on with painful periods and the fear of being pregnant because they simply did not know their options. Why they didn't know? Because Catholic school teaches you that you don't need birth control if you are staying abstinent.
2. Many of my peers grew up thinking that Planned Parenthood was a place to "kill babies."
Yes, I know that sounds harsh, but that's really what my theology teachers would tell us. And yes, our theology teachers were the ones who would teach us the extent of our "sex education." I vividly remember my theology teachers saying that babies were aborted at Planned Parenthood by having babies "ripped" out of the mother's stomach and "thrown in the garbage," at "any trimester." It scared me to the point where I would cry after school because I thought that was what really happened to babies.
Luckily, I had incredible parents who taught me that this was far from the case and that what my school was saying was completely made up in order to scare us.
My school, and many other Catholic schools, literally made Planned Parenthood sound like a terrorist organization that killed babies. It wasn't until my senior year of high school that I learned Planned Parenthood not only provided safe abortions for whoever needs them, but also a plethora of other essential things like birth control, pap smears, cancer screening, and infertility services. And trust me when I say I was not the only one who was late on this knowledge of planned parenthood. Almost all of my girl friends were, too.
3. I never heard about an STD in any classroom.
My teachers would say "well if you're not having sex you don't have to worry about STDs." I never heard my teachers even talk about a type of STD. I, like most of my friends, had to find out stuff from the internet. We never knew how many STDs there are, which ones are very prevalent, how to prevent them (besides abstinence), and that you could not just get them from vaginal sex but also oral sex.
My teachers would even make it seem like if you got an STD it was because you were sleeping around a lot, which every grown adult now knows is complete BS. My friends, who (sorry all of my theology teachers) eventually engaged in sex sometimes had to find out about STDs only after they got one. STDS can be easily prevented if you have the right knowledge, and Catholic school completely failed on that part.
4. People were scared of sex.
So many people were afraid to engage in sexual activities because they did not know how likely it was for them to get pregnant, how to protect themselves adequately, and where to turn if they got an STD. But newsflash, Catholic school teachers: PEOPLE EVENTUALLY HAD SEX, ENJOYED IT, AND LEARNED ABOUT IT. Your antics didn't work!