Abstinence Only

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Obama FINALLY Eliminates Funding For Abstinence-Only Sex Ed
What is Abstinence-Only Education?
Teen Pregnancies Highest In States With Abstinence-Only Policies
Do More Than Lecture About Abstinence
Abstinence Only Fact Sheet
Virginity Pledge
Purity test
Related topics on Abstinence

Obama FINALLY Eliminates Funding For Abstinence-Only Sex Ed


President Obama’s new budget will eliminate all government funding for abstinence-only sex education.

For too long the federal government has been using tax dollars to support abstinence-only sex education programs, in spite of the fact that an overwhelming amount of evidence shows that such programs do not work.

The federal government first began funding these programs in 1981, under then-president Ronald Reagan. According to the Sexuality Information and Education Center of America (SIECUS), between 1996 until 2006 funding for these programs “grew exponentially.”

All told, over the past 25 years, Congress has spent more than $1.5 billion on failed abstinence-only programs.

In spite of the shocking amount of money invested in these program, the evidence tells us that they do nothing to reduce the rate of teen pregnancy and abortion, nor do they help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted disease. In fact, the opposite is true.

For example,

An independent study commissioned by the Minnesota Department of Health found that sexual activity doubled among junior high school participants in the state’s Education Now and Babies Later (ENABL) program at three schools between 2001 and 2002. The number of participants who said they would “probably” have sex during high school almost doubled as well.

As Addicting Info reported here the rate of teen pregnancy in states that require comprehensive-sex education has been declining steadily for the past several years.

At the same time, the rate of teen pregnancy in conservative states, where abstinence-only sex education is allowed and even mandated, remains embarrassingly high.

As we also reported here, as of 2014, the state with the highest number of teen pregnancies was New Mexico, followed by Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. All of these states have shamelessly backwards laws regarding sex education, which mandate sex-education programs stress abstinence and “the importance of sex only during marriage.”

The liberal states of New Hampshire, Vermont, Minnesota, Massachusetts and Maine had the lowest numbers of teen pregnancies in the nation during the same year.

President Obama’s decision to eliminate federal funding for programs that have been proven ineffective when it comes to reducing teen pregnancy, abortion and STD’s will not only save Americans the $10 million upfront cost of these programs.

Teen pregnancy costs the U.S. approximately $9.4 billion.

Eliminating federal funding for abstinence-only sex education programs will encourage schools to choose curriculum that is science-based and fact-based.

As more schools move toward putting this type of curriculum in place, rather than relying on the fantasy-based abstinence-only model that conservatives endorse, the rate of teen pregnancy and teen abortion will finally begin to decline in red states, along with the number of teens who are exposed to sexually transmitted disease.

In the long run, the decision to eliminate funding for failed abstinence-only programs will save teen lives, all while saving taxpayers billions of dollars.
Source: www.addictinginfo.org/2016/02/16/obama-finally-eliminates-funding-for-abstinence-only-sex-ed/

What is Abstinence-Only Education?


Abstinence-only is a form of sex education that focuses on teaching individuals that abstinence remains the only safe way to prevent disease and unwanted pregnancy. This type of program provides little, if any, discussion on safe sex, birth control or contraception.

What does it Teach?

As Defined By Section 510(b) of Title V of the Social Security Act, P.L. 104-193:

1. "Has as its exclusive purpose teaching the social, psychological, and health gains to be realized by abstaining from sexual activity."

2. "Teaches abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage is the expected standard for all school-age children."

3. "Teaches that abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other associated health problems."

4. "Teaches that a mutually faithful monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the expected standard of sexual activity."

5. "Teaches that sexual activity outside the context of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical side effects."

6. "Teaches young people how to reject sexual advances and how alcohol and drug use increase vulnerability to sexual advances, and the importance of attaining self-sufficiency before engaging in sexual activity."

What is the Effectiveness of Abstinence-Only?

There is immense amounts of research to show that comprehensive sexuality education is effective in training youth safe sex techniques and contraception use. However, there is little if any evidence to show that abstinence-only programs are effective even at achieving abstinence among its students.

Here are individual studies examining and analyzing Abstinence-Only Programs:

The Mathematica conducted a congressional study of four popular abstinence-only programs and found that every program was completely ineffective. The students who partcipated in the programs were no more likely to abstain from sexual behavior than students who did not (Comprehensive...).

"Evaluations of publicly funded abstinence-only programs in at least 13 states have shown no positive changes in sexual behaviors over time"

In 2004, the U.S. House of Representative's Committee released a report showing that 80% of the most popularly funded abstinence-only education programs used a curriculum that contain basic scientific errors, provide false information on contraceptives, and safe sex, use scare tactics, provide misrepresentation of abortions and the risks, and provide stereotypes about relationships and female/male bodies as scientific fact!

"Among youth participating in “virginity pledge” programs, researchers found that among sexually experienced youth, 88 percent broke the pledge and had sex before marriage (Comprehensive...)." Among these participants, many had more partners in a shorter amount of time and were even less likely to use contraception, than those who did not take the pledge.

"No abstinence-only program has yet been proven through rigorous evaluation to help youth delay sex for a significant period of time, help youth decrease their number of sex partners, or reduce STI or pregnancy rates among teens."

Abstinence-Only Laws/Policies:

For almost one hundred years, the federal government has supported and funded abstinence-only programs, which provide censored information to youth. Federal support of these programs began in 1982 through the Adolescent Family Life Act. "Then beginning in 1996, funding for abstinence-only grew exponentially with the enactment of welfare reform. The law contained a little noticed mandate of $50 million a year to fund abstinence-only programs (Howell)." In fact, the law amended Title V of the Social Security Act and became groundbreaking, both for its funding and for its extensive definition of the program. "The funding was added to an existing, set-aside account within the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) block grant known as Special Projects of Regional and National Significance (SPRANS). As with all MCH block grants, states had to provide three matching dollars for every four federal dollars they received. This boosted total potential funding for abstinence-only to $87.5 million annually (Howell)."

"Conservatives enthusiastically embraced CBAE as their preferred funding vehicle, as evidenced by its growth from $20 million in 2001, the program’s first year of funding, to $113 million in 2007 – a 465 percent funding increase (Howell)."

Abstinence-Only States: This link provides information regarding each U.S. state's policies/laws regarding Abstinence-Only Education and facts on how much funding each state receives. www.siecus.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Page.viewPage&pageId=487&parentID=478

Facts and Statistics: This link provides a fact sheet for Abstinence-Only education, which includes funding, statistics, government policies and effectiveness. www.plannedparenthood.org/files/PPFA/AbstinenceOnly_10-07.pdf

This link provided by AdvocatesForYouth, illustrates and establishes statistics state-by-state over a 5 year period of evaluation for Abstinence-Only programs.

This is the lowest national rate for teen births since the Centers for Disease Control began tracking it in 1940, and CDC officials attributed the decline to pregnancy prevention efforts. Other reports show that teenagers are having less sex and using contraception more often. Studies have backed this up. Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle found that teenagers who received some type of comprehensive sex education were 60 percent less likely to get pregnant or get someone else pregnant. And in 2007, a federal report showed that abstinence-only programs had “no impacts on rates of sexual abstinence.”

But 37 states require sex education that includes abstinence, 26 of which require that abstinence be stressed as the best method. Additionally, research shows that abstinence-only strategies could deter contraceptive use among teenagers, thus increasing their risk of unintended pregnancy.

For example, take the states with the highest and lowest teen pregnancy rates. Mississippi does not require sex education in schools, but when it is taught, abstinence-only education is the state standard. New Mexico, which has the second highest teen birth rate, does not require sex ed and has no requirements on what should be included when it is taught. New Hampshire, on the other hand, requires comprehensive sex education in schools that includes abstinence and information about condoms and contraception.
Source: thinkprogress.org/health/2012/04/10/461402/teen-pregnancy-sex-education/
www.advocatesforyouth.org/publications/623?task=view

Do More Than Lecture About Abstinence


Simply Expressing Not to Have Sex Doesn't Work

When it comes talking about sex, contraception and teenage dating, it seems that parents tend to get trapped making some predictable mistakes. One of these errors has to do with only discussing abstinence. When asked about this issue, teens have overwhelmingly responded that they need to hear more from their parents than just "don't have sex." In fact, this is one area where teens feel that their parents must give them the benefit of the doubt.

Parents should not allow themselves to fall into the pitfall of believing that their teen will receive mixed messages or become confused if both contraception and abstinence are discussed at the same time. Show your teen that you respect his/her intelligence enough to engage in these responsible discussions. As per the requests expressed by many teens:

Parents – You Must Do More than Just Lecture about Abstinence

I realize this can be a slippery slope. It is important that you (as a parent) unmistakably clarify, for your teen, your hopes and values with respect to their behavior. It is perfectly OK for you to share your opinion, morals and expectations about sex with your teen. It may be helpful, though, for you to first be clear about your own sexual attitudes and values before having this conversation. When having this discussion, make sure you are explaining why you feel the way you do (this is not the time for “because I said so”), actively seek your teen’s input and listen to what they have to say.

I wish, though, it could be just that easy. Unfortunately, in today’s world, parents need to do much more than tell your teen not to have sex. This is also the time that you must talk about sex and contraception:

It may also be helpful to discuss how you felt when you were a teenager... keeping in mind the change of the times. Do your best to make this a conversation rather than a lecture.

In addition to talking about safety and pregnancy, talk about the emotions that can come along with a sexual relationship

It may be helpful to know that 53% of teens say that their parents or their own religious beliefs, morals and values influence their sexual decisions the most. Teens whose parents provide clear messages about the value of abstinence are more likely to delay their first sexual experience, and parents who discuss contraception are more likely to have teens who use birth control when they finally choose to engage in sexual activity.

Researchers Michelle M. Isley et al. discovered that abstinence-only education is simply not enough. Their study revealed that teens who believed that they received sex education that ONLY contained information about birth control methods were much more likely to use a reliable contraceptive method the first time they engaged in sex. It seems that teens who experienced sex education discussions that mainly included strong lectures on abstinence were less likely to use a reliable contraceptive during their first sexual act. This data suggests that abstinence-only messaging tends to cancel out, or dilutes, the potential beneficial effects conveyed by information about birth control methods. It seems then, that stressing more to your teen not to have sex, especially when no information about contraception is presented, can lead to undependable birth control use.

Comprehensive Sex Education vs. Abstinence-Only Education

This study also showed that when parents discuss sex topics in detail (and not just abstinence), there is a higher likelihood that their teens will use a more dependable birth control method. These comprehensive sex conversations between parents and teens (that go beyond parents telling teens not to have sex) help to promote healthier teen sexual behaviors. Parents should discuss hormonal birth control methods because teens who use these methods tend to do so more consistently. This conversation should not be reserved for just female teens.

Many male teens have shown very limited knowledge about hormonal contraceptives (believing many myths about the pill, for example) or may not even know what hormonal options are available. When parents provide their teen sons with this information, it will help them to feel more secure in their knowledge – this, in turn, will help serve as an essential step in helping these young men facilitate responsible discussions about contraceptives with their girlfriends.

Finally, it appears that teens who have participated in discussions with family members about condoms are more likely to use condoms themselves. So, my final tip... when parents talk about how to use condoms or buy condoms (rather than focus on abstinence), teen condom use increases.

And to back me up on all this, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Adolescents, actively supports and encourages doctors to counsel teens about the correct and consistent use of reliable contraception and condoms among those who are sexually active or considering sexual activity. Given that research clearly supports that parents can positively influence whether their female teens engage in safer sexual practices when they have sexual intercourse, parents and teens should both be encouraged to talk about the discussions that the teen had with her doctor during her appointment.

The bottom line here, parents: It's time to go beyond abstinence lectures:

Source: contraception.about.com/od/talkingaboutbirthcontrol/qt/Dont-Lecture-About-Abstinence.htm

Teen Pregnancies Highest In States With Abstinence-Only Policies


The number of teen births in the U.S. dropped again in 2010, according to a government report, with nearly every state seeing a decrease. Nationally, the rate fell 9 percent to about 34 per 1,000 girls ages 15 through 19, and the drop was seen among all racial and ethnic groups. Mississippi continues to have the highest teen birth rate, with 55 births per 1,000 girls. New Hampshire has the lowest rate at just under 16 births per 1,000 girls.

This is the lowest national rate for teen births since the Centers for Disease Control began tracking it in 1940, and CDC officials attributed the decline to pregnancy prevention efforts. Other reports show that teenagers are having less sex and using contraception more often. Studies have backed this up. Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle found that teenagers who received some type of comprehensive sex education were 60 percent less likely to get pregnant or get someone else pregnant. And in 2007, a federal report showed that abstinence-only programs had “no impacts on rates of sexual abstinence.”

But 37 states require sex education that includes abstinence, 26 of which require that abstinence be stressed as the best method. Additionally, research shows that abstinence-only strategies could deter contraceptive use among teenagers, thus increasing their risk of unintended pregnancy.

For example, take the states with the highest and lowest teen pregnancy rates. Mississippi does not require sex education in schools, but when it is taught, abstinence-only education is the state standard. New Mexico, which has the second highest teen birth rate, does not require sex ed and has no requirements on what should be included when it is taught. New Hampshire, on the other hand, requires comprehensive sex education in schools that includes abstinence and information about condoms and contraception.
Source: thinkprogress.org/health/2012/04/10/461402/teen-pregnancy-sex-education/

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