Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Edward Haley

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© 2014 Sloan Caldwell


Sexual education has been a much-debated topic in the United States since it was instated in light of the HIV/AID pandemic of the 1980s. The debate has always centered on the role of sexual education: should it act to objectively relay the facts about sexual health? Or should it be utilized as a moral purveyor of teen’s sexual behavior? During the second Bush Administration it seemed as if the conservative right had won and sexual education adopted a role policing teen’s morality with $1.5 billion in federal funding for abstinence-only education. This study aims to provide evidence against abstinence-only education by highlighting its ineffectiveness to meet its own standards of success (preventing teen pregnancy and STI infection), as well as its violation of legal human rights standards. As well, this study will provide an alternative to abstinence-only education, comprehensive sexual education, which provides students with accurate information about sexual health (including information about contraception, abortion, etc.) while still emphasizing abstinence as the preferred sexual behavior in teens.