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Debate: Condoms in schools

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Should public schools have condom distribution programs?

Background and context

Wherever the issue has emerged, whether it be in the inner city schools of America, the primary schools of Wales, or in health education programs in the developing world, the suggestion that condoms be actively promoted as a solution to unwanted pregnancies, the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and the proliferation of HIV infection has been controversial.
While scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports the contention that condoms, when properly used, reduce the incidence of these problems, numerous critics fear that active encouragement of condom use advances the onset of sexual activity among young people. In particular, more conservative religious traditions, as well as religious groups that oppose contraception, oppose the move to the distribution of condoms in schools out of fear that basic values of their religions might be undermined in their children. As an alternative, critics of condom distribution advocate abstinence-only education. This variant of sex education encourages young people to abstain from sexual activity as a way to avoid pregnancy and disease. Unfortunately, such programs have had mixed or negative results. In the developed world commercial influences and social pressures contribute to student defiance of abstinence. In developing countries, where cultures often encourage the development of large families and educational programs are not as well funded or comprehensive, critics feel the message lacks impact. Because this issue has received a great deal of attention in the United States and the United Kingdom as regards implementation in public schools, the temptation is to see this topic through only that lens. However, debaters may just as easily consider broader educational programs instituted by governments to improve public health and population control. Debaters may also consider multinational and foreign aid programs designed to control the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and regulate population growth -[1]

Wikipedia: Condom

Contents

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Teen pregnancy: Will condoms in public schools help lower teen pregnancy rates?

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Yes

  • If students are having sex, they need to know about safe sex. If students in school are having sex they should have the option of having safe sex and they need to know the advantages of having safe sex.
  • Condoms in public education will reduce underage pregnancy Condoms are an effective way to lower pregnancy rates. As such, their distribution within schools will result in lower teen pregnancy and student pregnancy rates.[2]for sure students have sex, someday, earlier or later, it will happend in a range of age between 12- 18.


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No

  • Providing students with condoms encourages early sexual activity. If young people believe they will be “safe” when using a condom they are much less likely to be deterred from engaging in sexual intercourse. Higher rates of sexual intercourse might offset the positive effects of condom use in preventing pregnancy.[3]


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Religion: Can condoms be distributed without upsetting religious doctrine?

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Yes

  • Putting a condom machine in a school does not mean that all students are encouraged to have sex. Teenage sex predates both condom machines and high schools. Teenagers are probably interested in sexual relations, because there is the opposite gender in schools. It is possible to ban the opposite gender in schools, but that is only part of the problem. The other contributing factor is teenage hormones. An interest in engaging in sexual relations does not undermine religious doctrine, unless one wants to become a priest. Religious doctrine does not forbid sexual relations, but encourages the safe or responsible management of it, and this usually includes discouraging pre-marital sex, coveting someone else's wife (and probably husband as well), and adultery.


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No

  • Condoms for students can offend people from different religions. Catholics and followers of other religions who do not believe in birth control, and orthodox practitioners of a number of the world’s religions find the apparent encouragement of sexual activity an affront to their religious traditions.[4]
  • Religious considerations are not irrelevant. Various religions are members of society, and these citizens have a right to voice their views about condom distribution or machines in their schools. Schools are not the place for condom machines, just as schools are not the place for cigarette machines, or alcohol bars. Many high school students also have a problem with smoking and drinking, but that does not mean schools should distribute filtered cigarettes or have a designated driver program. Certain activities, such as drinking and smoking, are legally appropriate for adults. Sexual activity should also at least be recognized as an activity best reserved for mature adults.


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STDs: Will condoms in public schools reduce sexually transmitted diseases?

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Yes

  • Distributing condoms in public schools will reduce the spread of STDs Condoms are an effective means of combating the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. On this premise, it stands to reason that their distribution in schools and use will reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases among students.[5]
  • Condoms are one of the most effective means of protecting against STDs, HIV and pregnancy. For their cost, they are easily the most cost-effective means of protecting against these threats.[6]


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No

  • Condoms in schools would encourage sex and so increase STD risks. I feel that if condoms in schools could in fact increase the incidence of venerial disease as it could spread the information to the younger students still not achieved puberty. It would drive the sex imagination in their in their minds.
  • The effectiveness of condoms is exaggerated. If not used properly, condoms can be highly ineffective. Young people are more likely to use condoms incorrectly, due to lack of experience with them or because they are drunk. Moreover, the temptation to have sex without a condom may be significant where the supply of condoms is not plentiful.[7]


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Pragmatism: Is it pragmatic for governments to do this?

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Yes

  • Providing condoms to students is the morally pragmatic thing to do. Educators need not endorse sexual activity, but they can encourage students to make wise choices if they decide to have sex. Such an approach is wise because it accepts the inevitability that some young people, regardless of the strength of an abstinence message, will still have sex.[8]
  • Providing condoms to students is a wise investment of government funds. A fortune is spent by world governments each year addressing the public health problems created by risky sexual behaviour. The cost of raising the many children created through unintended pregnancies over a lifetime can be astronomical. The cost of treating a patient with HIV can be enormous.[9]


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No

  • Taxpayers should not have to support objectionable condom-distribution programs. This is even if there seem to be pragmatic justifications for the action. Moreover, if overall sexual activity increases as the result of encouraging "safer sex", the number of people occasionally engaging in risky behaviour will increase and the risk of these problems spreading will increase with it.[10]


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Responsibility: Will condom distribution make students more sexually responsible?

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Yes

  • Providing access to birth control empowers women with more control over their bodies. Historically women have often suffered more because of restrictive policies related to reproduction (abortion laws, restrictions on birth control purchases, parental consent policies).[11]
  • Condom distribution encourages the responsibility of men: It can also establish condom use as the norm, not something that women continually have to negotiate, often from a position of weakness.[12]


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No

  • Widespread condom distribution will establish sexual activity, creating peer pressure to participate in sex. The added temptation to engage in sexual activity that is "protected" will result in more women having sex at a younger age, perhaps furthering their exploitation.[13]
  • Condom distribution will encourage sexual activity and other risky behavior.[14]


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Pro/con resources

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Yes


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No


See also

External links

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