If you ask me this is mixing government and religion
because they are pushing the religious message that
sex without marriage is a sin. And that's on top of
the programs not even working.
Apr. 14, 2007 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - Students who took part in
sexual-abstinence programs were just as likely to have
sex as those who did not, according to a study ordered
Also, those who attended one of the four abstinence
classes that were reviewed reported having similar
numbers of sexual partners as those who did not attend
the classes. And they first had sex at about the same
age as other students, 14.9 years, according to
Mathematica Policy Research Inc.
The federal government now spends about $176 million
annually on abstinence-until-marriage education.
Critics have repeatedly said they don't believe the
programs are working, and the study will give them
However, Bush administration officials cautioned
against drawing sweeping conclusions from the study.
They said the four programs reviewed, among several
hundred across the nation, were some of the very first
established after Congress overhauled the nation's
welfare laws in 1996.
Officials said one lesson they learned from the study
is that the abstinence message should be reinforced in
subsequent years to truly affect behavior.
"This report confirms that these interventions are not
like vaccines. You can't expect one dose in middle
school, or a small dose, to be protective all
throughout the youth's high school career," said Harry
Wilson, the commissioner of the Family and Youth
Services Bureau at the Administration for Children and
For its study, Mathematica looked at students in four
abstinence programs around the country as well as at
students from the same communities who did not
participate in the abstinence programs. The 2,057
youths came from big cities - Miami and Milwaukee - as
well as rural communities - Powhatan, Va., and
The students who participated in abstinence education
did so for one to three years. Their average age was
11 to 12 when they entered the programs in 1999.
Mathematica then did a follow-up survey in late 2005
and early 2006. By that time, the average age for
participants was about 16.5. Mathematica found that
about half of the abstinence students and about half
from the control group said they remained abstinent.
"I really do think it's a two-part story. First, there
is no evidence that the programs increased the rate of
sexual abstinence," said Chris Trenholm, a senior
researcher at Mathematica who oversaw the study.
"However, the second part of the story that I think is
equally important is that we find no evidence that the
programs increased the rate of unprotected sex."
Trenholm said his second point of emphasis was
important because some critics of abstinence programs
have contended that they lead to less frequent use of
Mathematica's study could have serious implications as
Congress considers renewing this summer the block
grant program for abstinence education known as Title
V. The federal government has authorized up to $50
million annually for the program. Participating states
then provide $3 for every $4 they get from the federal
government. Eight states decline to take part in the
Some lawmakers and advocacy groups believe the federal
government should use that money for comprehensive sex
education, which would include abstinence as a piece
of the curriculum.