SEX EDUCATION: Survey Shows Overwhelming Support
Californians overwhelmingly support school-based sex education and pregnancy prevention programs and believe that increased parental involvement is the most effective pregnancy prevention tool, according to a statewide survey recently conducted by the Field Institute. "California has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation," said Gary Yates, president and CEO of the California Wellness Foundation, which sponsored the survey. He added, "This information indicates that Californians are concerned about the issue and willing to do what it takes to help teens prevent unplanned pregnancies, which is very good news." Conducted between Jan. 26 and March 25, the survey of 1,314 parents of teens or pre-teens found disparities among racial and ethnic groups persist; Latino and African-American parents were more likely than white parents to state that teen pregnancy is a "very serious" problem, and said that receiving information on how to talk with their children about birth control, sex education, pregnancy prevention, and family planning issues would be "very useful." Other highlights:
- Over half of survey respondents said more information about teen sexuality would be "very useful" for them. Only 53% of parents surveyed said they were comfortable talking to their teenage daughter about sex, and 55% reported being "very comfortable" discussing contraception with a daughter. Fifty- four percent said they were "very comfortable" discussing sex with a teenaged son; 62% said they could easily discuss birth control with a son.
- When asked if schools should provide age-appropriate sexuality education and services, 84% of respondents said specific instruction on pregnancy and STD prevention should be provided, while 88% supported age-appropriate sexuality education.
- Regarding sexuality education content, 99% said that AIDS and other STDs should be included; 97% said "the basics" should be covered; and 93% said birth control and condom use should be discussed. For more information, call: (415) 781-4921 (Field Institute release, 4/27)