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Madeline Hummel/Ari Agnew

13 April 2017
PRLS 340
Persuasive Speech

Specific purpose: To convince the audience that there should be a nationwide standard
curriculum for sexual education.

Thesis Statement: I am here today to stress the importance of a nationwide standard of

curriculum for sexual education, specifically a standard of education that teaches adolescents
more than just abstinence-only.

I. Attention-getting material: There a number of times throughout someones
schooling that they might ask, why do I need to know this? Or how is this going
to benefit me in the future? While it might be hard to explain to an eighth grader
the importance of the French Revolution, there is one topic taught in schools that
will be useful later in life that is not emphasized enough: sexual education.
II. Establish credibility: My name is Ari Agnew and I am the president of Students
Advocating Sexual Health Awareness here on Gonzagas campus.
III. Thesis: I am here today to stress the importance of a nationwide standard of
curriculum for sexual education, specifically a standard of education that teaches
adolescents more than just abstinence-only.

[Transition: So, how many of us have seen the movie Mean Girls?]

I. The laws for sexual education standards vary from state to state.
a. Because of this, depending on the state, the quality of sexual education varies
b. Talk about Mean Girls example.
c. Only 22 states are required to teach both sex and HIV education.
d. 18 states require information on contraception during sex education programs,
but zero states require the importance of it to be stressed.
e. Only 35% of high schools taught how to properly use a condom as part of the

[Transition: The lack of information taught in sexual education programs is primarily due to the
fact that most states require abstinence-only sex education programs.]

II. The majority of sexual education programs today strongly stress abstinence, and
many of these programs only discuss abstinence, with no information on
contraception or STI protection; however, while abstinence is the only certain
way to stay STI-free and prevent unplanned pregnancy, its not realistic to assume
that everyone today is practicing abstinence.
a. 37 states require abstinence to be stressed or mentioned in sex education
b. Abstinence-only may be realistic for some, but for many it is not and if teens
are only taught about abstinence, they are receiving no information about birth
control or STI protection if they choose to not be abstinent.
c. Abstinence-only programs can put teens at an increased risk of pregnancy and
STIs, because the teens are not educated on birth control and STI protection if
they choose to not practice abstinence.
d. Research suggests that strategies that promote abstinence-only, subsequently
withholding information about contraception, do not stop or delay sex at all.
e. No studies of comprehensive/non-abstinence education programs have shown
an increase in sexual risk-taking.
f. In 2016, Congress provided $85 million for abstinence-only sexual health

[Transition: Of course there are going to be differing opinions nationwide about what should be
included in a sexual education program, but at a minimum it should be required that everyone,
regardless of where they live, has the same standard of education and access to information.]

III. There is too much discrepancy in curriculums; therefore we need a uniform

a. Sexual education in schools needs to be thorough, as not all children feel
comfortable to talk to their parents about sex.
b. Some form of sexual education also needs to be taught starting in middle
school, as teens are being exposed to sex at a much younger age.
c. The earlier the students are educated, the less time there is for adolescences to
have misunderstandings about sexuality, STIs, contraception, etc.
d. Strong evidence suggests that comprehensive approaches to sex education
help young people to delay sex and have healthy, responsible relationships
when they do become sexually active, reduce number of sexual partners,
increase condom and contraceptive use, and reduce sexual risk-taking overall.
e. As a result of a more thorough, comprehensive sexual education program,
teens can hopefully feel more safe and comfortable expressing their sexuality
with lower rates of unplanned pregnancy and STIs.

I. Summary Statement: By implementing better sex education programs, people would
be educated, informed, and prepared for whatever lies ahead for them in regards to
their sexual health; this can only be done by implementing a comprehensive, non-
shaming, open-minded sex education program in all 50 states.
II. Concluding Remarks: "There is no way we'd allow any other academic program to
consistently fail to prepare students for life after school, and human sexuality, unlike
calculus, is something you actually need to know about for the rest of your life." -
John Oliver
Works Cited

1) American Teens Sources of Sexual Health Education. Fact Sheet. Guttmacher Institute.
New York. April 2016. Web.
2) Knowles, Jon. "Sex Education in the United States." (2012). Planned Parenthood. Katharine
Dexter McCormick Library and the Education Division of Planned Parenthood
Federation of America. Web. 3 Oct. 2015.
3) "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Sex Education (HBO)." YouTube. YouTube, 9 Aug.
2015. Web. 11 Oct. 2015.
4) NCSL, 2015; Guttmacher Institute, 2015; Powered by StateNet
5) Planned Parenthood. History of Sex Education in the U.S. Fact Sheet. Planned Parenthood.
November 2016. Web.