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Report: Abstinence not curbing teen sex

AP reported today, 11/07/07, on a report that abstinence only programs do not curb teen sex.

Programs that focus exclusively on abstinence have not been shown to affect teenager sexual behavior, although they are eligible for tens of millions of dollars in federal grants, according to a study released by a nonpartisan group that seeks to reduce teen pregnancies.

"At present there does not exist any strong evidence that any abstinence program delays the initiation of sex, hastens the return to abstinence or reduces the number of sexual partners" among teenagers, the study concluded.

The report, which was based on a review of research into teenager sexual behavior, was being released Wednesday by the nonpartisan National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

The study found that while abstinence-only efforts appear to have little positive impact, more comprehensive sex education programs were having "positive outcomes" including teenagers "delaying the initiation of sex, reducing the frequency of sex, reducing the number of sexual partners and increasing condom or contraceptive use."

"Two-thirds of the 48 comprehensive programs that supported both abstinence and the use of condoms and contraceptives for sexually active teens had positive behavior effect," said the report.

A spending bill before Congress for the Department of Health and Human Services would provide $141 million in assistance for community-based, abstinence-only sex education programs, $4 million more than what President Bush had requested.

This is another example of how ideology and religious agendas have trumped sound public health science during the Bush Administration. Perhaps as we move to a new administration we can once again renew our belief in the constitutional principle of the separation of church and state. Bush's "faith based" initiatives, while they may have attracted right wing evangelical support, are not founded on sound social policy values.

Link: Print Story: Report: Abstinence not curbing teen sex on Yahoo! News.

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