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Middle, high school students need abstinence-based sex education

Taking a swipe at an executive order Gov. Jan Brewer issued last year, Rep. Catherine H. Miranda, D-Phoenix, introduced a bill that would allow illegal immigrants in the Obama administration’s deferred action program to receive Arizona driver’s licenses. (Cronkite News Service Photo by Lesley Marin)

Rep. Catherine H. Miranda, D-Phoenix (Cronkite News Service Photo by Lesley Marin)

Shockingly, nearly 55 teens become pregnant in Arizona every day and 46 percent of high school students report being sexually active.

According to a University of Arizona study, Arizona has the third highest rate of teen pregnancies in the nation. This costs state taxpayers about $300 million a year.

As a community advocate for today’s youth, I strongly support comprehensive, abstinence-based sexuality education for students in Arizona’s public schools. I have stood up for Arizona’s youth by sponsoring a sexuality education bill in the Arizona House (HB2506) earlier this year. This bill would require Arizona school districts to provide abstinence-based sex education that is medically accurate and comprehensive for middle and high school students. It is a necessary action to help reduce our teen pregnancy rates.

Unfortunately, the bill did not receive an important committee hearing and was not able to move forward. Lawmakers have a responsibility to every student in Arizona’s public school system. By adopting a statewide law, we can ensure that all youth and parents, no matter where they live, will receive consistent, accurate and age-appropriate information. This effort will face an uphill battle. With that in mind, some school boards are taking action now.

For example, the Creighton Elementary School District in Phoenix proactively adopted the Family Life and Sexual Health (FLASH) program.

This effort deserves recognition, as it will serve the students and the community well. I strongly urge other school boards to step up and take action. This will help send a message that we value our students, we value their health and we value their futures.

— Catherine Miranda is a Democratic state representative from District 27 in Phoenix.


  1. Right, because abstinence based education works so well. Just look at Bristol Palin. Oh wait. Thats right,. It doesn’t work. Teen pregnancy rates are actually higher in states that mandate abstinence education than in states that don’t. This isn’t about student health — its about enforcing your beliefs on others. And you’re a democrat? Ha.

  2. One can scare state these opinions without exposing their absurdity.

  3. It amazes me that there are still people who believe that abstinence only sex education is effective. Study after study after study has demonstrated that abstinence only sex education actually INCREASES teen pregnancy.

    One only has to look at the teen pregnancy rates in our country to see the truth of this fact. The highest rates are in the South, where Bible Belt thinking has led to an increase in abstinence only sex education. Mississippi, which has mandated abstinence only sex education has the highest rate at 6.9%. New Hampshire, which has state wide sex education (which includes information about reproduction, disease prevention and contraception) has the lowest rate at 3.6%.

    Abstinence only sex education fails our youth in so many ways. Without comprehensive sex education, we leave our youth vulnerable to unwanted pregnancies and deadly sexually transmitted diseases.

    I’ve taught comprehensive sex education to teenagers. When done properly, it includes discussions about postponing sexual activity, the potential negative consequences to self-esteem and social interaction. Young people WANT to talk about sex, but they want to talk with adults who are not judgmental and narrow-minded. They want guidance and factual information. They need smart mentors who will not lie to them or hide information from them!

    I beg our state legislators to take their heads out of the sand and READ something other than information that has been handed to you by religious zealots. The wide array of studies and statistical information points to only one conclusion for an intelligent reader: abstinence only sex education is a disaster and should be avoided at all cost!

  4. Perhaps comprehensive sex education with medical facts and being blunt about what can happen due to unprotected sex. we can tell them not to have sex until we are blue in the face, but many will still have sex. it is better to make sure they are mindful of the consequences of having sex and do so intelligently.

  5. It’s bad enough,and expected from Republicans to suggest that abstinence based Sex Ed might actually have any value whatsoever. That a Democrat is saying something so stupid makes me want to scream in frustration. How many years, how many unwanted pregnancies will it take to prove that? Our elected officials are all living in n alternate reality.

  6. Lawmakers, Stay out of our personal and families lives. Unless you have gone to medical school, you have NO credibility! Work at restoring our rights, not taking them away. A teenager should have easy and confidential access to birth control, then abortion would be an non-issue. Get into the 21st century!

  7. Abstinence-based sex education didn’t work in the past, it doesn’t work now and it will never work ever. Please work on something that has a chance of working like bringing jobs into the Valley that pay livable or more wages.

  8. chill, Well said. Couldn’t agree more. Where are the jobs for the people and we don’t mean more government jobs like building prisons, prison officers and wardens and the related special interest profiteers in all this?

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