Saturday, April 14, 2007

Abstinence Only Sex Education Flunks (Again)

According to a new study on the effectiveness of abstinence-only sex education, kids who are taught to abstain from sex do no better at abstaining from sex than other kids. Or, as The Washington Post reports:

A long-awaited national study has concluded that abstinence-only sex education, a cornerstone of the Bush administration's social agenda, does not keep teenagers from having sex. Neither does it increase or decrease the likelihood that if they do have sex, they will use a condom.

Authorized by Congress in 1997, the study followed 2000 children from elementary or middle school into high school. The children lived in four communities -- two urban, two rural. All of the children received the family life services available in their community, in addition, slightly more than half of them also received abstinence-only education.

By the end of the study, when the average child was just shy of 17, half of both groups had remained abstinent. The sexually active teenagers had sex the first time at about age 15. Less than a quarter of them, in both groups, reported using a condom every time they had sex. More than a third of both groups had two or more partners.

"There's not a lot of good news here for people who pin their hopes on abstinence-only education," said Sarah Brown, executive director of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, a privately funded organization that monitors sex education programs. "This is the first study with a solid, experimental design, the first with adequate numbers and long-term follow-up, the first to measure behavior and not just intent. On every measure, the effectiveness of the programs was flat."
Of course, proponents of abstinence only sex education are not giving up. They're trying to spin the study as highly inconclusive. Yet, the results of the study are not substantially different from several other smaller studies done over the years.


Brendan said...

So the study proves that abstinence only education results in 50% of kids' souls not going to hell to roast in endless tormenting pain for all eternity for their wicked sin.

I'd say saving the souls of 50% of our kids is well worth it, wouldn't you?

Paul said...

ROFL! I'm all for that, then! Saving kids from hell is a far nobler purpose than attempting to prepare them for a healthy and happy love life. That's why I advocate fully clothed sex between properly married couples as the only truly "safe sex".

Brendan said...

"a healthy and happy love life."

If that's supposed to be a reference to the wicked act of carnal knowledge, you're way out of bounds, Paul. There's no such thing as healthy or happy sex. Sex is of the Debil.

Paul said...

I myself have long been concerned, Brendan, that married couples might become, over time, so accustomed to each other's presence in the same bedroom that they could be in danger of exposing themselves naked to each other. Such wanton behavior can only lead to broken homes, abandoned children, and dire peril to their immortal souls!