Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Abstinence Programs Don’t Work, Largest Study to Date Concludes

Excerpted from Education Week.
Students who participated in sexual-abstinence education programs partially funded by the federal government were just as likely to have sex, and had the same number of sexual partners, as those who did not take part in the programs, a federally mandated report said today.

Both groups of youths—those who participated in abstinence education, and those who participated in other health education programs available in their areas—had a median age of first intercourse of 14 years and 9 months.

However, those students who participated in the abstinence programs were just as likely to use contraception as those who did not. Some critics of abstinence education programs have argued that they reduce rates of contraception usage.

“We didn’t see any effects, either good or bad,” from abstinence education, said Christopher Trenholm, the lead researcher for the study, conducted by Mathematica Policy Research Inc. of Princeton, N.J.

The title is a bit misleading. The report also seems to indicate that abstinence-only programs didn't seem to have any impact on the likelihood of students to use contraception. This report seems to indicate that sexual education in the schools has practically no impact on whether or not a student will engage in sexual intercourse before marriage, use contraception, or anything else. To me, this seems like a strong argument to stop spending money on sexual education in public schools and allow the parents to once again step up to the plate and take responsibility for teaching their children.

The full report can be found here: "Impacts of Four Title V, Section 510 Abstinence Education Programs", posted by Mathematica Policy Research Inc.

No comments: