Friday, January 9, 2009

Abstinence Pledges Unsuccessful at Producing Abstinence Studies Find

According to a recent study highlighted in the Washington Post teenagers who have taken pledges to remain abstinent until marriage are just as likely to have premarital sex and more likely not to use condoms. The study, conducted by Janet Rosenbaum of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, analyzed data collected from about 11,000 students in grades seven through 12. Among the teens surveyed in the study, over half became sexually active before marriage regardless of whether they had taken a "virginity pledge.” In addition, the study found that those who had taken the pledge were considerably less likely to use condoms. Ironically, it seems that abstinence pledges are causing risky behavior.

This study is the latest in a series of studies that have highlighted the problems with abstinence-only approaches. Previous studies have shown that abstinence-only programs are ineffectual at preventing teen pregnancy and STI infections. This leaves us with only one question: why is the federal government continuing to invest in abstinence-only programs? Hopefully, the new administration will limit government funding to curricula based on scientifically sound principles and ideologically-based education will be a thing of the past.

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