CDC Reports Drop in Sexual Activity Among High School Students

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by Trey Elmore  •  •  January 9, 2018   

Many drops occurring in traditionally red states

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DETROIT ( - A new report from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is reporting drops in sexual activity among high school students. Released on January 5, the study is reporting linear drops in sexual activity in all student subgroups except white students.

The CDC collected data from 29 states and grouped the states they reported on according to which grades reported decreases. The only state that reported a decrease in all grades 9–12 was Florida. The report shows decreases "among 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th-grade students in three states."

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The largest group of states saw decreases amongst 9th and 10th graders only. These were Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Idaho, West Virginia and Kentucky, all red states, and Illinois, Maine and New Hampshire, traditionally blue and swing states.

Two states, North Dakota and Wyoming, reported no significant change in sexual activity among any group of high school students. Even after every decrease, there is no category of students where the current rate of sexual initiation is lower than 20 percent. As of 2015, 41.2 percent of high schoolers report being sexually active. Among 9th graders, 27.3 percent of boys and 20.7 percent of girls report having been active. These figures show that no fewer than one in five high school students was sexually active at some time as of 2015.

The report makes no speculation on the cause of the decreases in adolescent sexual activity, saying only, "Understanding the underlying causes of these decreases in the prevalence of ever having had sexual intercourse can inform strategies to ensure that such decreases continue."

In May of 2017, Church Militant reported a trend in the United Kingdom where drops in teen pregnancies have coincided with cuts in funding for so-called "safe sex" programs.

The "Teenage Pregnancy Strategy," initiated in the United Kingdom in 1999, featured safe-sex classes and distribution of birth control to teenagers. This was in an effort to curb teen pregnancy rates which were twice that of the rest of Europe at the time.

After the global economic crisis of 2008, cities in the United Kingdom began to enact cuts to sex education programs. The new research focuses on the impact of these cuts on teen pregnancy in 149 British cities. The study found that the surge in spending on birth control and sex education programs between 1999–2005 did little to change an already declining teen pregnancy and abortion rate. Steep cuts enacted in 2008, however, show a strong correlation with steep drops in teen pregnancies and abortions.

"Contrary to predictions made at the time of the cuts," the study claims, "panel data estimates provide no evidence that areas which reduced expenditure the most have experienced relative increases in teenage pregnancy rates."

For years, the Church has faced criticism by secular and liberal commentators, slamming the Church for its opposition to the distribution of contraceptives in parts of Africa ravaged by AIDS.

The Church has been sounding the alarm on immoral, so-called sex-education programs for almost a century, long before the advent of the birth control pill and the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Pope Pius XI in his 1929 encyclical Divini Illius Magistri spoke to the issue of sex education outside of the family and divorced from Catholic teaching on the Sixth and Ninth Commandments and the consequent danger of scandal:

And there is a country where the children are actually being torn from the bosom of the family to be formed (or to speak more accurately to be deformed and depraved) in godless schools and associations, to irreligion and hatred, according to the theories of advanced socialism; and thus is renewed in a real and more terrible manner the slaughter of the Innocents.


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