Sex Education: Bias and Truth.

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There are few words that excite passions as much as "sex" and these passions often do more to cloak than illuminate public policy issues. This is particularly true in the case of sex education. At first glance, it might appear impossible to determine which type of educational program works best.


There are those, for instance, whom argue that abstinence-based programs are most likely to attain public policy goals such as the reduction of teen pregnancy, the prevention of sexually transmitted disease, and the emotional well-being of America's youth. On the other hand, there are many scholars and professional organizations that criticize abstinence-based programs as being too narrow in scope; these arguments tend to argue for what has become known as comprehensive sex education programs. This essay will examine both arguments with particular attention being paid to the potential for bias and the research data that has been discovered. Despite vociferous protests to the contrary, it would appear that comprehensive sex education programs work best.

A typical defense of abstinence-based programs is the one presented by the Heritage Foundation; it is typical because it phrases its philosophy in moral terms while only presenting data which supports its position. The approach is therefore twofold: (1) this type of argument presumes to speak for all Americans in terms of social values and mores and (2) this type of approach does not reference research studies or data that conflict with its desired position.
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