Conservative young cautious on sex education

CHARLES ANDERSON
Last updated 05:00 08/01/2012
A nationwide poll of 600 people aged 15-21 found they held conservative views on sex issues with only 19 per cent agreeing that schools should teach safe sex without teaching about the consequences of sex and about abstinence.
A nationwide poll of 600 people aged 15-21 found they held conservative views on sex issues with only 19 per cent agreeing that schools should teach safe sex without teaching about the consequences of sex and about abstinence.

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Sex education could be too much for conservative Kiwi youths, a new poll has found.

A nationwide poll of 600 people aged 15-21 found they held conservative views on sex issues. Only 19 per cent agreed that schools should teach safe sex, rather than abstinence and the consequences of sex, while 42 per cent wanted a combination of both – especially older teenagers.

The poll was done by Curia Market Research for Family First New Zealand – a conservative values lobby group.

Director Bob McCoskrie said the results were a direct reproach from young people against "safe sex" messages around condoms, and that "everyone is doing it".

"Many parents were horrified last year when details of what was being taught surfaced. Sex education has been an utter failure."

He said New Zealand had one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the OECD, disease rates were "out of control", and the number of teenage abortions continued to rise at the same time as some groups were saying as long as a condom was used you could do what you liked in terms of "promiscuity, experimentation, and fringe behaviours".

Family Planning chief executive Jackie Edmond said it was no surprise young people wanted comprehensive sex education. "Young people do better with sex education that is a whole range of components, not just one."

But she said no organisation advocated safe sex alone, and lessons included being taught about negotiation, delay and relationship management.

The poll also asked young people if parents should be told if their school-age daughter was considering an abortion and there was no risk to their physical safety. A majority, 59 per cent, thought they should, while 56 per cent believed an unborn child or foetus had the right to be born.

McCoskrie said the "pleasantly pro-life view" was significant because young people could see the importance of having parents involved, even when they knew those parents would be disappointed or upset.

Under the Care of Children Act, a female of any age can consent to an abortion. Edmond said young women could be put in danger if they did not have access to confidential abortions.

The poll surveyed 600 15-21-year-olds nationwide between December 4-6, and has a margin of error of +/- 4.1%.

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