By Carole on Feb 7, 2010
Surprise (to some)! Abstinence education actually works. According to a new University of Pennsylvania study published in The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, abstinence only education helps to prevent teen pregnancy even if it does not include a religious message. The study showed that 33 percent of sixth and seventh graders who took an abstinence-only course had sex within two years of the course compared to 52 percent who were taught only "safer sex" and 42 percent who were taught both abstinence and safer sex. (source)
The study followed 662 African-American students in urban schools. Students who received the abstinence-only message were provided with information on HIV and were given medically accurate information on sex. They were encouraged to remain abstinent and were given advice (without a moralistic tone or by portraying sex in a negative light) on how to resist pressure to have sex. (source)
The results of this study could prove very problematic for President Obama who recommended a more than $170 million cut in federally funded abstinence education programs in his recently proposed budget. The administration favors pregnancy prevention programs that stress contraception and the proposed budget asks for a $183 million increase for those programs. (source)
Will the result of this study change any minds in Washington? It's doubtful as political party affiliation usually overrules facts on such issues. But it certainly could be, to use one of President Obama's pet phrases, a teachable moment…literally.
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