Family First NZ says that three out of four parents of young children want the abstinence message taught in sex education – with 69% of kiwis overall supporting the ‘wait’ message.
This was a key finding of research commissioned by Family First NZ. The Curia Market Research poll surveyed 1,000 people. In response to the question “Do you think schools, as part of their sex education programme, should be required to encourage pupils, to abstain from sex until they are old enough to handle the possible consequences of pregnancy?”, 69% said yes, 23% said no, and 9% refused to answer or didn’t know. Parents of children aged below 12 are 8% more likely to support the abstinence message (74%). Surprisingly, those under 40 were also most in favour of this message.
“This is a direct rebuke to the ‘use a condom’ and ‘everyone’s doing it’ messages being pushed by groups like Family Planning, AIDS Foundation and Rainbow Youth,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
According to Auckland University’s recent National Secondary School Youth Health Survey which covered 114 schools and almost 10,000 students, only 16% – 25% of a typical class up to year 10 (4th form) are sexually active. For year 11, it is a third, and even for senior students, over half are not sexually active. The clear majority are choosing not to be sexually active.
“We discourage drug use, smoking, excessive and fatty food – we encourage seatbelts, responsible driving, and physical activity. Why don’t we support the majority of youth who are choosing to abstain, and encourage the sexually active students to delay sexual activity,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“And for those youth who are sexually active, they are not being told the truth. Groups like the Family Planning Association and the AIDS Foundation are perpetuating the myth that as long as you use a condom, you can pretty well do what you like – with no physical or emotional ramifications.”
According to an OECD report, the New Zealand teenage pregnancy rate (28.4 per 1,000 teenagers aged 15 to 19 in 2006) was the second highest, behind the US. It was almost twice the rate of Australia and Canada, and over four times the rate in Denmark, Japan, Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland.
“The safe sex message is failing our young people and failing our families. We should support the majority in abstinence, and demonstrate to the minority the mental, physical and emotional benefits of waiting. And this is exactly what parents want.”
The poll was conducted between 24 and 28 March 2010 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.2%.