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Tennessee: Let’s Talk About Sex

You may recall that recently here on the Life360 blog I reported the shocking news that research has shown that comprehensive sex education helps lower the teen pregnancy rate. As reported in that blog post it turns out states with comprehensive sex education have seen a major decrease in teenage pregnancy.

“Mississippi, for instance, continues to have the highest teen birth rate, with 55 births per 1,000 girls while New Hampshire has the lowest rate falling just under 16 births per 1,000 girls. Mississippi does not require students to receive pregnancy prevention.” source

So states that lack comprehensive sexual education (which means teaching abstinence only) have not seen the same decrease as sates that do. As it turns out, the 10 states with the highest teen pregnancy rates can’t figure out what they’re doing wrong.

So Tennessee has stepped up with a new plan to combat teen pregnancy. No, not educating teenagers on safe sex. In stead they are going to focus their energy on banning “gateways sexual activity.”

“Under the law, Tennessee teachers could be disciplined and speakers from outside groups like Planned Parenthood could face fines of up to $500 for promoting or condoning “gateway sexual activities.”

Parents could sue outside sexual education instructors, according to the Tennessean newspaper, while school district employees would be exempt from prosecution.”

Gov. Bill Haslam has signed the bill. “Kissing and hugging are the last stop before reaching Groin Central Station, so it’s important to ban all the things that lead to the things that lead to sex,” Haslam said on the “Colbert Report” television show.

Tennessee I have something to say:

Dear Tennessee,

Please pull your head out of the sand. Stop wasting time on useless legislation about “gateway activities” and tell your kids how to prevent pregnancy and disease. Did you know that one in five of your Tennesseans are stuck below the poverty line? Or that metropolitan Memphis ranks as the most impoverished large metro area in the nation? Yet your Governor is worried about teenagers kissing and hugging? I’m going to give a small piece of advice. If you prevent teen pregnancy, you prevent poverty. Just saying.

Love,

Me

(A concerned Californian who had comprehensive sex education in a public school and didn’t have children until she was 24 and been married for five years)