Abstinence-only vs. abstinence-based education

Sarah Palin announced that her daughter Bristol,17, seen here holding her brother, is pregnant.

Governor Sarah Palin recently announced that her 17-year-old, unmarried daughter is pregnant. Gov. Palin is a strong supporter of abstinence-only education for students.

But is that really the best way to teach kids about sex?

In 2006, teens in Lucas County had enough babies to fill 34 kindergarten classrooms. Consistently, we're at the top of the list when it comes to teens having babies in the state of Ohio.

Governor Ted Strickland has made the curriculum in Ohio abstinence-based. That means, students in public schools are taught that abstinence is the best option, but they're also taught about options if they do have sex.

"Just like tornado drills and fire drills in life, why do we do that, and kids will say to prepare if it ever happens, true with this too, I'm not saying tomorrow, I'm not teaching that it'll happen tomorrow but preparing them for when it does happen," says Jama Hayes, Director of Youth Development at the YWCA.

On the contrary, local Catholic schools are strong proponents of abstinence-only education.

Assistant Superintendent for the Diocese of Toledo, Carolyn Schmidbauer says, "We don't talk about sex as a recreational activity whereby you get to pick and choose whether you get to do this or not do this, we see sex as the consummation of the married love between a man and woman."

The Diocese cites studies that show teens are better off with abstinence-only education. But, a study by the AIDS Research Institute in San Francisco found students who were taught abstinence-only were more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior, get pregnant or contract an STD.

The YWCA agrees, which is why they teach alternatives while still stressing that abstinence is the best way to reduce those high teen pregnancy rates here in Lucas County.