Ethical values and morals have been awarded with a prestige in every society of the world. These set of rules have significant importance since without morals and ethics, human beings cannot dignify themselves from other creatures and do not guaranty success and respect; both in this world and after world. The dawn of modernization had not only brought changes in terms of technology and communication; social values, ethics and norms have been equally affected with its powerful impacts. Some well-known phenomena such as modernity, individualism, feminism and liberalism have been highlighted which brought a wave of sexual emancipation in the society. This has seriously modified the sexual culture and values such that in today’s modernized world, everything about sex and sexual relationships has become evident to all, even to small school going children. They are fully aware of sexual relationships and try to practice them in very early age. In an effort to save them from the consequences, several contraceptive techniques have been introduced on school levels so that those students who make sexual relationships can at least avoid its outcomes, such as pregnancy, abortions and single parenthood (Last, 2013).
Before going to study the research over the use and effectiveness of distribution of condoms in schools, some drastic outcomes of single parenthood have been presented. It is estimated that due to increasing number of sexual activities amongst minors and school going children of the contemporary US society, the number of single unmarried mothers has been significantly raised over the years. According to U.S. Census report 2009, there were 18.4% births to unmarried women all over US in 1980, which was raised to more than its double, i.e., 40.6% in 2008. Majority of these births were unintentional and unwanted by their parents, many of whom fathers are unknown to even their mothers too. Thus the mother has to bear all the expenses of child bearing individually, giving rise to economic imbalance and poverty in the society (Grall, 2009). It was estimated that in 2000, about 36% of the total births were carried out by unmarried women and 11% of the total child population was living amongst there unmarried parents. In 2010, almost 41% of all births were carried out by unmarried women (CDC, 2013). Hence because of sexual activity in an early age, a small school going teen-ager who cannot bear her own expenses has to bear child bearing, which becomes crucial for herself and her family. Research has proved that children living with single parents are not as much confident, socially groomed and academically well performed than those who live with both of their parents. The worst effects are upon the families being maintained by a single, unmarried mother. In the absence of father, children are more likely to drop out of school and to get involved in juvenile crimes. Therefore, it is crucial to explain school going children about the methods of contraception, so that they do not contribute towards illegitimacy, poverty and economic instability in the society (Ellwood and Jencks, 2002).
A large number of abortions are now being carried out by those unmarried women who do not want to face the outcomes of their sexual activities. It was reported that amongst females of England and Wales, only 16% of the abortions were carried out by a married couple. 49% abortions were induced by those couples who live in a partnership and 26% abortions were carried out by single, unmarried women (Rogers, 2012). Almost likely are the statistics in all over US, where 227/1000 pregnancies end in abortions in early or middle gestation period. The statistics obtained are of women of the age-group 15-45. Thus it can be easily understood that young girls of schools or high schools become unmarried mothers and perform abortions in order to get rid of their unwanted child. Therefore, to avoid such pregnancies, contraceptives such as condoms must be distributed in schools so that children do not become parents in such early age. It has been estimated that since 2010, there has been an overall 8% drop of births amongst unmarried women of age group 15-19 and 11% drop amongst women of age 15-17. These statistics clearly show that teen-agers are now aware of contraceptive methods and the use of ‘pill’ and ‘condoms’ is now more frequent than the past (CDC, 2013).
Distribution of condoms in schools and high schools has been a controversial and heated debate in the society. Particularly religious circles condemn it, stating it as one of the causes of this increasing number of sexual activities amongst teenagers. However, it is not wise to shut eyes and not looking for an appropriate solution for the problem. In the contemporary societies, those who do not have ‘safe sex’ are endangered with sexually transmitted diseases. The ratio is higher amongst school teen agers as they are unaware about the diseases and do not adapt preventions during sex. Only in Philadelphia, a vast majority of young males and females were found to have sexually transmitted diseases such as Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, and a significant number was even found to have HIV. The age group reveals that these were the students of schools, high schools and colleges, who did not adapt appropriate measures to prevent themselves. It was revealed that students of those schools which make condoms available to their students and spread awareness about STDs have lower rates of pregnancies and STDs. In this way, they saved themselves with the use of male condoms and awareness about the contraceptive methods (Kuruvilla, 2012).
Although many parents, students and other people from different fields of work and life disagree with the idea of distribution and availability of condoms in schools, stating it as a measure of increased sexual activity amongst students, research has proved that condoms availability programs do not promote or increase sexual practice amongst young teen agers. Yet they have been proved to be successful in order to safe teens from pregnancy and STDs. Along with the distribution of condoms to newly adolescents, schools also provide sex education and methods of preventions for ‘safe sex’. Condom distribution and availability has now been considered an effective way by several health organizations in order to ensure that young generation is making itself safe. It has been observed that in schools where condoms are made available to the students, the students make use of them during their sexual activities. It has also been observed that the ratio of safe to unsafe sex increased amongst those adolescents who were provided with condoms. Reports indicated a significant decrease in unsafe sexual intercourse too. Since adolescents do not have a usual access to condoms and other contraceptives because of several social obstacles; availability of such items on school level along with appropriate sex education persuade them to make use of these each time they indulge with their partner. CDC has proved that if used correctly, condoms are the best and effective measure for contraception. Thus those schools which distribute condoms to adolescents and provide counseling to them effectively reduce the chances of pregnancy and other undesired outcomes of sexual relationships (Dodd, 1998).
A study conducted on secondary school pupils of South Africa revealed astonishing facts about the use of condom. A total of 460 students were taken under consideration and the researcher explored some factors of distribution and use of condoms amongst them. The main objective of the research was whether availability of condoms at school minimizes the chances of pregnancy and other sexually transmitted diseases or not. Initially, about 50% of the total population of the sample reported that they have never used condoms while having sex. However, the interesting thing to note was that most of the students know that condoms are used to have ‘safe sex’ and to protect oneself from diseases such as HIV. They also know that condoms have some relative expiry after which they are more likely to get damaged and become ineffective. Therefore, it was suggested that if these students are provided with condoms on school level and proper counseling is being provided to them, they certainly make use of it as they know about its benefits on health. Upon all, since pregnancy is the most common outcome of unsafe sex, availability of condoms in schools can certainly decline the rates of pregnancy and abortion amongst young girls. Thus the need for educational programs over sex and distribution of contraceptives has been asserted and these were recommended for every school (Peltzer, 2000).
It has been a common misconception that condoms are not as much effective as compared with other contraceptives. The reasons for this argument include the condom failure during sex in the form of rupture or decreased sense of pleasure while having sex. However, studies and research have shown that it is not condom failure which can lead to pregnancy, rather it is the inappropriate and inconsistent usage which can cause pregnancy. They have been proved to be 85%-100% effective in preventing pregnancy if used as instructed. They can even block the HIV and other harmful viruses if carried by one of the partners. Therefore, condoms can certainly block the sperms to pass through the membrane and to reach till female’s fluid. The use of electron microscope has proved that no germs cross the membrane, thus preventing pregnancy in the best possible way. The method of ‘vitro testing’ has also proved the same about condoms, and has regarded them as an effective measure of contraception. Therefore, it is highly recommended that along with the distribution and availability of condoms in schools, education and counseling regarding their effective use must also be provided to the students, so that they make themselves and their partners safe (Samuel, 2005).
Along with the adolescents and young generation, many married couples and partners use condoms to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. The success rate has been 98/100, i.e., out of those 100 couples who make consistent use of condoms, only two have been reported to have an unintended pregnancy. However, the pregnancies occur for around 8500 session of sexual intercourse, thus the condom pregnancy rate has calculated as only 0.02%, which is minimal and also, negligible. The success ratio of male to female condoms is 98% to 95%, and therefore both are considered effective and efficient in preventing pregnancy. Keeping this effectiveness in view, health care organizations suggest local schools to make sure that condoms must be available to their students so that they can also remain pregnancy free, as they cannot practice abstinence till marriage. In this way, both the partners can save themselves from being an unmarried parent and can avoid any undesirable circumstances (Hatcher, 1998). From this discussion, it has been concluded that condoms have a high effective rate to prevent pregnancies in young adolescents of schools. If the schools provide sex education on the use of condoms and make them available, the risk of unsafe sex and pregnancies can certainly be reduced. This strategy has not only been effective in preventing pregnancies but also educated the students about the negative outcomes of unsafe sex, which propel them to either go for safe sex or remain abstinence. Thus the generation can be saved from viral and adverse diseases and can decrease chances od single parenthood and unwanted babies amongst the society.
CDC: Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. (June 6, 2013). Teen Pregnancy: The Importance of Prevention. Retrieved on June 17, 2013 from: <http://www.cdc.gov/TeenPregnancy/index.htm>
Dodd, K.J. (1998). School Condom Availability. Advocates for Youth. Retrieved on June 17, 2013 from < http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/publications/449>
Ellwood, D and Jencks, C. (2002). The Spread of Single -Parent Families in the United States since 1960. Harvard University.
Grall, T. (2009). Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2007. US Census Bureau. Department of Commerce.
Hatcher, R. A. (1998). Contraceptive technology. New York: Ardent Media.
Kuruvilla, C. (December 26, 2012). Philadelphia High Schools to Distribute Free Condoms. New York Daily News. Retrieved on June 17, 2013 from: <http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/22-philly-schools-offer-free-condoms-article-1.1227641>
Last, J. V. (2013). What to Expect When No One's Expecting: America's Coming Demographic Disaster. New York: Encounter Books.
Peltzer, K. (January 01, 2000). Factors affecting condom use among senior secondary school pupils in South Africa. The Central African Journal of Medicine, 46, 11, 302-8.
Rogers, S. (2012). Abortion statistics for England and Wales: see the latest breakdown. Data Blog, Facts are Sacred. Retrieved on June 17, 2013 from: <http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/may/24/abortion-statistics-england-wales>
Samuel, A.A. (May 2005). FDA Regulation of Condoms: Minimal Scientific Uncertainty Fuels the Moral Conservative Plea to Rip a Large Hole in the Public’s Perception of Contraception. Harvard Law School. Retrieved on June 17, 2013 from: <http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/8965574/Samuel05.html?sequence=2>