A few days ago, the US House of Representatives agreed to increase money for abstinence-only sex education by $28 million, to a total of about $200 million a year. Yes, you read correctly, the United States, supposedly a beacon of progress and freedom, is spending $200 million a year on trying to prevent teenagers from having sex. It's the kind of news you would expect to be coming from some obscure Middle-Eastern theocracy rather than from a modern country. But that's not all, abstinence-only courses are actually the only form of federally financed sex education in the US. Nothing on contraception or protection against sexually transmitted diseases, the only message is “no sex before marriage”.
Apart from being an irresponsible waste of financial resources in a country in which 50 million citizens are without health coverage, this would just be another laughable matter for foreign observers if the consequences were not so disastrous. The United States has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the developed world (more than 10 times higher than Japan, South Korea or many European countries), as well as one of the highest abortion rates (over 3 times higher than Western Europe). In addition, sexually transmitted infections such as syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia are rising at alarming rates among American teenagers.
One could legitimately ask why would an advanced country make such a bizarre use of taxpayers' money. It's not uncommon for a government to try to influence its citizens' behavior, but in a free society, such government actions are expected to be guided by universal values (as opposed to values from one particular religious or political ideology) like human rights or caring for people's health and well-being.