Think Progress has made note of a study looking at the impact of sex education on youths.
Big surprise but, after years of conservative maneuvers on local/state education boards, cries of fretting uninformed parents, and various religious groups spreading misinformation, there's an uncomfortably high level of ignorance on contraception. The study focused on sexual active youth (ages 18-29), the majority of which DON'T fully understand contraception and ways to protect their health.
When young people are given a proper education on sex risk and contraception, they make smarter choices about the risks they WILL be facing (Sorry, people will be having sex.). Education makes you smarter. Why is this so hard for some people to grasp? (Perusing the GOP presidential field from earlier this year...Ah, that's part of the problem.)
It is important to reach out and impart this knowledge with teens. It cannot wait, and it must be valid and useful information. Instead we get the abstinence angle flogged out, we get moral outrage, and that has done us no good. It doesn't stop sex. It doesn't make sex safer. It doesn't make the nation's youth healthier. It just makes some parents and moralist feel a little prouder of themselves.
It gives the Abstinence Lobby nice night of sleep. Meanwhile their kids are sneaking out and going at it with the commonsense and preventative knowledge of rutting rabbits (See the Palins.).