Defining Rights-Based Sexuality Education

Abstinence-only and abstinence-plus sex education have been the mainstay of American school-based sex education programs for decades. However, these approaches don’t have much in the way of evidence to suggest that they reduce the risk of STDs or unintended pregnancy, which is their purported...

Sex Ed Veers to the Right

The history of sex education in U.S. schools is marked by countless twists and turns, and no small amount of controversy. Undoubtedly one of the biggest changes came in the early 1980s, when the federal government started pouring money into programs that focused on abstinence, rather than taking...

Class Warfare

By the late ’90s, the debate over whether U.S. public schools should provide sex education classes was over: In every region of the country, more than 90% of the public supported sex ed. But the battle over specific content—especially regarding contraception—raged on. In 1998, as the federal...

Sex Ed in the ’80s

Amid the growing AIDS crisis in the 1980s, many state and school sex education policies were vague or nonexistent, and not much was known about the content and quality of sex ed. To address this lack of knowledge, the Guttmacher Institute conducted several large-scale surveys to assess how...

Sex Ed in the City

Sex education in public schools has long been the subject of debate—some argue it can play a crucial role in reducing teen pregnancy, others think it encourages youth to engage in sexual activity, while still others believe it has no place in the school curriculum. Before the 1980s, much of the...

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Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Family Planning Perspectives may be accessed through Wiley Online Library (2003–) and JSTOR (1969–2011).

Cover illustrations of Margaret Sanger © Matthew and Eve Levine

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