Abstinence Only doesn't work
A big government-funded study was released today (i.e. dumped on Friday afternoon in hope that no one would pay any attention) showing that abstinence education doesn't work. The report is 164 pages long, so I'll excerpt some key points. Abstinence education doesn't make teens abstain:
Findings indicate that youth in the program group were no more likely than control group youth to have abstained from sex and, among those who reported having had sex, they had similar numbers of sexual partners and had initiated sex at the same mean age.On the other hand, it doesn't make them have more unprotected sex, as some have feared:
Program and control group youth did not differ in their rates of unprotected sex, either at first intercourse or over the last 12 months.(HT: Feministing) So abstinence education pretty much doesn't do squat. Sex Educators have known this for some time already:
Ten years into the program, and a billion dollars expended, the federal evaluation study confirms what those of us who are sexuality educators knew all along -- that telling teenagers to "just say no" was not effective education.I think that's a pretty good summary of our current administration: completely ineffective, but offering the "right" (i.e. wingnut theocon) moral message.
The press releases from organizations that support abstinence-only education are trying to find the best spin on the story. One said that it doesn't matter that the programs aren't effective because they offer the right moral message.