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    039722

    Public policy and public opinion toward sex education and birth control for teenagers.

    Reichelt PA

    JOURNAL OF APPLIED SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY. 1986; 16(2):95-106.

    Government policy toward provision of sex education and contraception for adolescents is influenced by public opinion. This is reflected in the fact that recent program formulation appears to follow the conventional wisdom of a general conservative shift among the American public; i.e., recent policy toward adolescent pregnancy is conservative in the sense of being reactive rather than preventive. The validity of this conventional wisdom was checked by examining available data on public opinion toward sex education and birth control services for teenagers. However, these data reveal an upward, not a downward, trend in public approval of such services for adolescents, which runs counter to the conventional wisdom. The available data on American opinions and values demonstrate that the overall movement in attitudes decisively contradicts the idea of a simple conservative swing. Provision of more and better contraceptive services and sex education to teenagers is an important policy goal that would lower the incidence of adolescent pregnancy and would be supported by the American people. (author's modified.)
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