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The Source: Could Access To Sex Education Curb Texas' Teen Birth Rate?

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More than 80 percent of the state's public school districts are not teaching sex education or exclusively teach abstinence-only methods, according to a recent report from watchdog group The Texas Freedom Network.

Twenty-five percent of Texas public school districts offered no sex education at all during the 2015-16 school year, the report reveals, and nearly 60 percent of districts used abstinence-only programs over the same period.

Critics say abstinence-only curriculum provides misinformation to students, teaches gender stereotypes and excludes LGBT groups, and are calling for health education to be restored as a statewide requirement for all Texas public school districts. As of 2009, Texas high-school graduation requirements do not include a health class. 

Texas ranked fifth highest in the nation in teen birth rates in 2015, with 41 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 19. State Representative Mary González says these numbers are "deeply troubling," and in response, filed House Bill 1547 that would require sex education classes to include "medically accurate, age-appropriate" human sexuality education at grade levels determined by the State Board of Education.


Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.