The Bush administration continues to push for abstinence only sex education even while their own studies show that it’s not only not reducing teen sexual activity, it’s making that sexual activity less safe and more likely to result in pregnancy and disease. The Washington Post reports:
The nation’s campaign to get more teenagers to delay sex and to use condoms is faltering, threatening to undermine the highly successful effort to reduce teen pregnancy and protect young people from sexually transmitted diseases, federal officials reported yesterday.
New data from a large government survey show that by every measure, a decade-long decline in sexual activity among high school students leveled off between 2001 and 2007, and that the rise in condom use by teens flattened out in 2003.
And the obvious reason why:
“Since we’ve started pushing abstinence, we have seen no change in the numbers on sexual activity,” said John Santelli, chairman of the department of population and family health at Columbia University. “The other piece of it is: Abstinence education spends a good amount of time bashing condoms. So it’s not surprising, if that’s the message young people are getting, that we’re seeing condom use start to decrease.”
Study after study of kids in abstinence only sex ed has shown that while those programs may help kids delay having sex for a short time, it doesn’t last long. Those studies also show that when those kids do start having sex, they’re a lot less likely to use condoms and that significantly increases the risk of pregnancy and disease transmission. It’s time to end this madness.