Graduation Year

Spring 2012

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Frederick R. Lynch

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© 2012 Hannah Frey Lauber


Sexuality education continues to be an extremely emotional and polarizing issue in the United States. The U.S. leads developed countries with the highest rates of teenage pregnancy and STI acquisition, as well as teenage abortions. Additionally, costs to society are tremendous—experts estimate unplanned pregnancy costs the federal government up to $12 billion annually. Now more than ever, there is a dire need for medically accurate, high-quality sex education in this country. This thesis explores the history of sexuality education policy in the United States, as well as recent legal developments. It highlights the arguments of those in favor of comprehensive as well as abstinence-only education. Finally, it discusses the pertinent needs of society today, parents' opinions regarding the topic and the risky behavior trends of adolescents. Based on numerous academic studies regarding different curricula types, as well as adolescent behavior, it makes broad policy recommendations to decrease unintended pregnancy and STI acquisition in the U.S.