Just say no to abstinence-only sex ed | Arkansas Blog

Monday, July 23, 2007

Just say no to abstinence-only sex ed

Posted By on Mon, Jul 23, 2007 at 1:24 PM

I missed this yesterday. Anothe reason to remember the Clinton years fondly.

The long decline in sexual activity among U.S. teenagers, hailed as one of the nation's most important social and public health successes, appears to have stalled.

After decreasing steadily and significantly for more than a decade, the percentage of teenagers having intercourse began to plateau in 2001 and has failed to budge since then, despite the intensified focus in recent years on encouraging sexual abstinence, according to new analyses of data from a large federal survey.

The halt in the downward trend coincided with an increase in federal spending on programs focused exclusively on encouraging sexual abstinence until marriage, several experts noted. Congress is currently debating funding for such efforts, which receive about $175 million a year in federal money and have come under fire from some quarters for being ineffective.

Eric Alterman summarizes:

So let's be clear: "Abstinence Only" sex education is not only filled with lies, it is also counterproductive, depriving teenagers of the information they need to make informed decisions about sex and practice contraception when they do. Conservatives prefer this. Faced with the evidence that their preference for this program causes more sex and more pregnancies, they say, "Bring it on." They prefer their own smug hypocrisy to saving teenagers from the horrors of choosing between abortion and teenage mother-and-fatherhood. The numbers do not lie. George W. Bush and his Christian conservative supporters are, objectively speaking, pro-abortion and pro-teen pregnancy, just so long as they get to make speeches denouncing them.

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