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Argument: Abstinence-only is not effective at reducing teen sex rates

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Supporting quotations

"Honesty about abstinence-only". Christian Science Monitor. 24 Apr. 2007 - "Abstinence-only" classes in public schools, funded by provisions of the 1996 federal welfare reform law, focus on the message of waiting until marriage. They do not teach about contraception or safe sex.

But a national study that tracked 2,000 young people over several years has found no evidence that such classes as currently taught actually increased rates of sexual abstinence. It found that program participants had similar numbers of sexual partners compared with peers who were not in the specialized abstinence programs.

Among teens who had sex by the end of the period of the study, the average age of their first intercourse was the same for participants as for nonparticipants: 14.9 years.

This is especially disappointing given that earlier research seemed to indicate that abstinence programs were at least changing teen attitudes, if not behavior. [based on a the study done by Mathematica Policy Research Inc.]

"Impacts of Four Title V, Section 510 Abstinence Education Programs, Final Report". Mathematica. April 2007 - Findings from this study provide no evidence that abstinence programs implemented in upper elementary and middle schools are effective at reducing the rate of teen sexual activity several years later.

"Editorial: Sex ed/Abstinence-only is unrealistic". Star Tribune. 6 Dec. 2004 - The National Institutes of Health, the National Academy of Science, the Guttmacher Institute and a 2001 Surgeon General's Report all concluded that so far no exclusively abstinence-based program has significantly delayed sexual activity.

"Let's Talk About Sex Just saying no is not enough." Washington Post. 18 Apr. 2007 - BLIND FAITH in abstinence-only sex education was seriously shaken last week with the release of an authoritative study showing that, at best, such instruction is like chicken soup for a cold: It doesn't hurt, but it doesn't provide a cure, either. Students who participated in abstinence-only programs were just as likely to have sex as those who did not. What makes this study noteworthy is that it didn't just gauge knowledge of sex. It looked at behavior. And the behavior of the 2,000 teens in two rural and two urban communities who were surveyed in 2005 and 2006 -- after they'd completed their programs -- would alarm any parent.

Students who received abstinence-only instruction were just as likely to have sex as those in a control group who did not receive such education. Among teens in both groups who had sex by the end of the study period, the average age of a first sexual encounter was 14.9 years. In both groups, a majority of those who were sexually active reported having two or more partners. And in both groups, only 23 percent said they always used condoms when having sex.

Laura Sessions Stepp. "Study Casts Doubt on Abstinence-Only Programs". Washington Post. 14 Apr. 2007 - A long-awaited national study has concluded that abstinence-only sex education, a cornerstone of the Bush administration's social agenda, does not keep teenagers from having sex. Neither does it increase or decrease the likelihood that if they do have sex, they will use a condom.

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