A just-released report claims that abstinence programs are ineffective. Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., is a Washington- based think tank that blatantly states that their research is conducted in order to “support decisions” about “social policy problems.” Clearly, their report on abstinence programs is timed to affect funding.
Their findings are flawed and raise questions in two separate areas.
First, the findings about abstinence programs are based on a flawed design. The Mathematica study targeted children who were in abstinence programs from ages 9-11. Those children were not evaluated until five years later. The targeted children were too young to absorb the abstinence message, and there was no follow-up to the original abstinence message. This basic flaw in the study design invalidates any findings in the report.
Second, the real issue is the values that are taught in the programs. Abstinence programs teach teens the value of abstaining from sex at least through high school. Ninety percent of parents agree with this message. Abstinence programs teach teens that sex should be reserved for marriage. Again, 90 percent of parents support this message. Finally, abstinence programs teach teens that sex involves commitment, love and intimacy; qualities most likely to be present within marriage.
Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, Director and Senior Fellow of Concerned Women for America’s Beverly LaHaye Institute, stated, “The left sees no difference between their message and ours, but there are major differences. Comprehensive sex education is not values based. Yet, sex involves values – especially the values of commitment, love and intimacy. If values are omitted, the teaching implies that casual teen sex has no lasting consequences as long as the teens use a condom.”
Crouse added, “Comprehensive sex education programs teach that casual sex is ‘no big deal.’ That myth has caused sexually transmitted diseases to skyrocket among the nation’s teens. That myth has aided in making drugs for depression the most prescribed medicine for teens. That myth has increased teen suicide as well as alcohol and drug abuse. The consequences of casual sex have been disastrous for the nation’s teenagers. Only since the broader implementation of abstinence programs have we seen a downturn in sexual activity, teen births and teen abortions. There are now 15 evaluations documenting the effectiveness of abstinence education. This new study by Mathematica holds no water in the wake of the overwhelming evidence that abstinence education produces positive results.”
Concerned Women for America is the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization.
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