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Abstinence Pledges: Epic Fail

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Who’s more likely to use condoms or other forms of birth control when they eventually have premarital sex — young people who’ve pledged to remain virgins until marriage or those who haven’t? And who is more likely to have premarital sex — youth who’ve made an abstinence pledge or those who haven’t?

Teenagers who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are just as likely to have premarital sex as those who do not promise abstinence and are significantly less likely to use condoms and other forms of birth control when they do, according to a study released today.

The new analysis of data from a large federal survey found that more than half of youths became sexually active before marriage regardless of whether they had taken a "virginity pledge," but that the percentage who took precautions against pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases was 10 points lower for pledgers than for non-pledgers. 

Your federal tax dollars are being spent on abstinence programs; the central feature for many is an abstinence pledge. Now that a new science-based, reality-oriented, fact-driven Administration is about to take office, can we devote that money elsewhere, please?

The findings are reigniting the debate about the effectiveness of abstinence-focused sexual education just as Congress and the new Obama administration are about to reconsider the more than $176 million in annual funding for such programs.

"This study again raises the issue of why the federal government is continuing to invest in abstinence-only programs," said Sarah Brown of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. "What have we gained if we only encourage young people to delay sex until they are older, but then when they do become sexually active — and most do well before marriage — they don’t protect themselves or their partners?"

James Wagoner of the advocacy group Advocates for Youth agreed: "The Democratic Congress needs to get its head out of the sand and get real about sex education in America."

Of course, in a reality-based world, these findings wouldn’t reignite debate — they would end the debate.

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And since teens in abstinence programs get misinformation about condoms, they are less likely to use them when they do become sexually active.

…24 percent of those who had taken a pledge said they always used a condom, compared with about 34 percent of those who had not.

Rosenbaum attributed the difference to what youths learn about condoms in abstinence-focused programs.

"There’s been a lot of work that has found that teenagers who take part in abstinence-only education have more negative views about condoms," she said. "They tend not to give accurate information about condoms and birth control."

The Flat Earth Lobby, whose ox is rather gored by this huge authoritative study, has some choice projection with regard to its findings:

"It is remarkable that an author who employs rigorous research methodology would then compromise those standards by making wild, ideologically tainted and inaccurate analysis regarding the content of abstinence education programs," said Valerie Huber of the National Abstinence Education Association.

[snip]

"Abstinence education programs provide accurate information on the level of protection offered through the typical use of condoms and contraception," she said. "Students understand that while condoms may reduce the risk of infection and/or pregnancy, they do not remove the risk."

Nancy Pelosi’s New Direction Congress needs to get in step with the science-based Obama Administration and end funding for these programs. They provide youth with misinformation, have no impact on sexual mores, and endanger the sexually active.  It’s time to end this dangerous experiment on American teens: abstinence education, including its creepy pledge ritualistic behavior, does not work.

We’re failing American youth on so many fronts: borrowing from them to pay off crooks and bandits, sending them to poorly purposed wars,  allowing their schools to decay and crumble, taking higher education out of reach of many.  

Can we at least stop lying to them about sex?

CommunityFDL Action

Abstinence Pledges: Epic Fail

betred.thumbnail.jpg

Who’s more likely to use condoms or other forms of birth control when they eventually have premarital sex — young people who’ve pledged to remain virgins until marriage or those who haven’t? And who is more likely to have premarital sex — youth who’ve made an abstinence pledge or those who haven’t?

Teenagers who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are just as likely to have premarital sex as those who do not promise abstinence and are significantly less likely to use condoms and other forms of birth control when they do, according to a study released today.

The new analysis of data from a large federal survey found that more than half of youths became sexually active before marriage regardless of whether they had taken a "virginity pledge," but that the percentage who took precautions against pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases was 10 points lower for pledgers than for non-pledgers. 

Your federal tax dollars are being spent on abstinence programs; the central feature for many is an abstinence pledge. Now that a new science-based, reality-oriented, fact-driven Administration is about to take office, can we devote that money elsewhere, please?

The findings are reigniting the debate about the effectiveness of abstinence-focused sexual education just as Congress and the new Obama administration are about to reconsider the more than $176 million in annual funding for such programs.

"This study again raises the issue of why the federal government is continuing to invest in abstinence-only programs," said Sarah Brown of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. "What have we gained if we only encourage young people to delay sex until they are older, but then when they do become sexually active — and most do well before marriage — they don’t protect themselves or their partners?"

James Wagoner of the advocacy group Advocates for Youth agreed: "The Democratic Congress needs to get its head out of the sand and get real about sex education in America."

Of course, in a reality-based world, these findings wouldn’t reignite debate — they would end the debate.

bradpitt01.thumbnail.jpg

And since teens in abstinence programs get misinformation about condoms, they are less likely to use them when they do become sexually active.

…24 percent of those who had taken a pledge said they always used a condom, compared with about 34 percent of those who had not.

Rosenbaum attributed the difference to what youths learn about condoms in abstinence-focused programs.

"There’s been a lot of work that has found that teenagers who take part in abstinence-only education have more negative views about condoms," she said. "They tend not to give accurate information about condoms and birth control."

The Flat Earth Lobby, whose ox is rather gored by this huge authoritative study, has some choice projection with regard to its findings:

"It is remarkable that an author who employs rigorous research methodology would then compromise those standards by making wild, ideologically tainted and inaccurate analysis regarding the content of abstinence education programs," said Valerie Huber of the National Abstinence Education Association.

[snip]

"Abstinence education programs provide accurate information on the level of protection offered through the typical use of condoms and contraception," she said. "Students understand that while condoms may reduce the risk of infection and/or pregnancy, they do not remove the risk."

Nancy Pelosi’s New Direction Congress needs to get in step with the science-based Obama Administration and end funding for these programs. They provide youth with misinformation, have no impact on sexual mores, and endanger the sexually active.  It’s time to end this dangerous experiment on American teens: abstinence education, including its creepy pledge ritualistic behavior, does not work.

We’re failing American youth on so many fronts: borrowing from them to pay off crooks and bandits, sending them to poorly purposed wars,  allowing their schools to decay and crumble, taking higher education out of reach of many.  

Can we at least stop lying to them about sex?

UPDATE: Pam sez "Duh"

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