Why "Abstinence States" have higher rates of teen pregnancy and STD's

Learn about: Why "Abstinence States" have higher rates of teen pregnancy and STD's from Jean Kilbourne, EdD,...
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Why "Abstinence States" have higher rates of teen pregnancy and STD's

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"Just Say No" has proved to be completely ineffective, no matter what you're dealing with. In the case of sex, for example, the states with the highest amount of abstinence education also have the highest rates of teen pregnancy and of sexually transmitted illnesses by far. Part of the reason for this is that the teenage brain is still developing. You know that we used to think the brain was fully developed by the time you were ten years old, and now we know it really isn't fully developed until you're 25, 26. And the part of the brain that develops last is the part that enables you to judge risk. So teenagers are perfectly capable of understanding the risks of drinking and driving, let's say, or having unprotected sex. But they cannot really see that the risks apply to them, so they're not capable of really judging the risks. So telling them to just say no totally overlooks all the important research that has been done on brain development and on what really does work with teenagers, which is to give them accurate, honest information and help them to see where certain choices might lead ahead of time before they make those choices. But to say, just say no, is really to insult them, to insult their intelligence and to not take into account how teenagers really think and develop.

Learn about: Why "Abstinence States" have higher rates of teen pregnancy and STD's from Jean Kilbourne, EdD,...

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Jean Kilbourne, EdD

Author & Social Theorist

Jean Kilbourne is internationally recognized for her groundbreaking work on the image of women in advertising and her critical studies of alcohol and tobacco advertising. Her films, lectures, and television appearances have been seen by millions of people throughout the world. She was named by The New York Times Magazine as one of the three most popular speakers on college campuses.

She is the author of the award-winning book Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel and So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids. The prize-winning films based on her lectures include Killing Us Softly, Spin the Bottle, and Slim Hopes. She is a frequent guest on radio and television programs, including “The Today Show” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” She has served as an advisor to the Surgeon General and has testified for the U.S. Congress. She holds an honorary position as Senior Scholar at the Wellesley Centers for Women.

According to Susan Faludi, “Jean Kilbourne’s work is pioneering and crucial to the dialogue of one of the most underexplored, yet most powerful, realms of American culture —advertising. We owe her a great debt.” A member of the Italian Parliament said, “Hearing Jean Kilbourne is a profound experience. Audiences leave her feeling that they have heard much more than another lecture, for she teaches them to see themselves and their world differently.”

She has received many awards, including the Lecturer of the Year award from the National Association for Campus Activities. A more unusual tribute was paid when an all-female rock group in Canada named itself Kilbourne in her honor.

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