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This just in...

... the sky is blue, the grass is green, water is wet, Chris Matthews is a racist buffoon and abstinence-only programs keep kids from engaging in sex:

Sex education classes that focus on encouraging children to remain abstinent can persuade a significant proportion to delay sexual activity, researchers reported Monday in a landmark study that could have major implications for U.S. efforts to protect young people against unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

Only about a third of sixth- and seventh-graders who completed an abstinence-focused program started having sex within the next two years, researchers found. Nearly half of the students who attended other classes, including ones that combined information about abstinence and contraception, became sexually active.

The findings are the first clear evidence that an abstinence program could work.

"I think we've written off abstinence-only education without looking closely at the nature of the evidence," said John B. Jemmott III, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania who led the federally funded study. "Our study shows this could be one approach that could be used."

The research, published in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, comes amid intense debate over how to reduce sexual activity, pregnancies, births and sexually transmitted diseases among children and teenagers. After falling for more than a decade, the numbers of births, pregnancies and STDs among U.S. teens have begun increasing.

The Obama administration eliminated more than $170 million in annual federal funding targeted at abstinence programs after a series of reports concluded that the approach was ineffective. Instead, the White House is launching a $114 million pregnancy prevention initiative that will fund only programs that have been shown scientifically to work -- a program the administration on Monday proposed expanding to $183 million.

"This new study is game-changing," said Sarah Brown, who leads the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. "For the first time, there is strong evidence that an abstinence-only intervention can help very young teens delay sex."

The study is the first to evaluate an abstinence program using a carefully designed approach comparing it with several alternative strategies and following subjects for an extended period of time, considered the kind of study that produces the highest level of scientific evidence.

"This takes away the main pillar of opposition to abstinence education," said Robert Rector, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation who wrote the criteria for federal funding of abstinence programs. "I've always known that abstinence programs have gotten a bad rap."

And who, pray tell, are the bad rap-pers?  None other than progressives with an agenda, one that has little to do with 'science' and much more to do with politics they deem to be scientific.

Imagine that.

Crossposted(*).


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Comments (31)

So, after about 30 years of... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

So, after about 30 years of study, this is the FIRST one that shows abstinence-only programs "might" work, and therefore A-O is VINDICATED??!!?

All you have to do is look at WHERE teen pregnancies, STDs, etc. are on the increase - in the Bible Belt states where A-O is prevalent. Where are those statistics decreasing? In the godless People's Republic of Massachusetts, NY, etc.

Look, as the father of teen girls, I'm personally very concerned with this issue. Guess what I did - took personal responsibility and talked with my daughters! If you don't want your children to engage in sex, I suggest you do the same.

Care to back any of your cl... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Care to back any of your claims, Bruce? It's not the first study, but the first study of this type.
Most teen sex studies are so agenda driven they nearly refute themselves...

Only about a third... (Below threshold)
Only about a third of sixth- and seventh-graders who completed an abstinence-focused program started having sex within the next two years, researchers found.
The liberals would argue that this discredits "Abstinence-focused programs". After all, because they are not perfect, they should not be used at all.

/sarc

Bruce, correlation and caus... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

Bruce, correlation and causation are not the same thing. Mississippi has an extremely high teen pregnancy rate. Would it be okay for me to point out the black population in Mississippi as the cause? Texas and California have an extremely high teen pregnancy rate. Would it be okay for me to point out the Hispanic population in those states as the cause? (California is not exactly the "Bible Belt") If not, then why is it okay for you to point out your demeaning "Bible Belt" theory?

Race, poverty and culture play a role in these statistics as much as anything else.

The only point you've made here that I can wholeheartedly agree with is to take personal responsibility and talk with your daughters. It worked with mine.

Most studies I know of have... (Below threshold)
James H:

Most studies I know of have shown that abstinence-based programs are ineffective. This may argue in the other direction.

But after quite a bit of thinking, I've concluded that the federal government should neither fund nor mandate abstinence-based sex education. Or any sex ed, for that matter. Let states and communities decide what they want, and the federal government's education bureaucracy can research programs, analyze them, and recommend best practices.

This in already...<bl... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

This in already...

Teaching abstinence but not birth control makes it more likely that once teenagers initiate sexual activity they will have unsafe sex and contract sexually transmitted diseases, said Dr. S. Paige Hertweck, a pediatric obstetrician-gynecologist at the University of Louisville...

Social conservatives are only too happy to wreck havoc on the lives of their children and on YOUR children in their religious extremism - as they attempt to further their failed outdated social agenda and lust (heh) for power.

When Republicans finally abstain from voting the world will be a better place.

Abstinence training has bee... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

Abstinence training has been proven to be very effective - among pre-schoolers. Pregnancy rates are near zero. Beyond that, not so much.

If Mr. Henry thinks that "talking to" his daughters does anything more than put up a speed limit sign on the outskirts of town, he's mistaken. He'll find out, as I did, that kids today are not only sexually active far earlier than he can imagine, but that they regularly engage in some pretty, um, "sophisticated" practices. He'll find out later, if his kids are honest with him (hell, if they're even TALKING to him) some of the stuff that goes on in very early junior high and sometimes late grade school. It's pretty astonishing stuff the first time you hear about it. Things have changed a lot since we were kids.

You can get a pretty good idea by simply reading the How-To instruction manuals published for kids by our own Secretary of Education. What do you want to know about gay sex? It's in there, along with suggestions about how much fun and how "natural" it all is. It's typical of our government to both discourage and encourage the same things at the same time, like the war on smoking and giving subsidies to tobacco farmers or spending billions on AIDS research but encouraging tolerance of the very behavior that causes it to spread. Doublespeak.

Beyond setting responsibility standards and establishing trust with your kids, thinking you can actually influence adolescent hormones is an exercise in self-delusion. When it's all over, your influence on the matter is incidental. You might as well try to teach pigs how to sing.

Steve Green, can the good d... (Below threshold)
Weegie:

Steve Green, can the good doctor you quoted cite any validated studies to support his claim? Or is that just his political opinion?

I do hope you understand the difference between unsubstantiated opinion (that you cited) and documented fact (per the study Rick cited), right?

The fact is that the study cited in this posting reports that condom use rates by students who went to the abstinance-only classes were not different than for any other group.

But sexual activity was over 50% higher for those who received instruction with emphasis on birth control. As for pregnancy rates, we all know how meticulous teens are for making sure they use birth control properly, no?

So, all those illigitimate ... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

So, all those illigitimate kids are rich white Republicans, are they? Is that where our welfare money goes?

"Social conservatives are o... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"Social conservatives are only too happy to wreck havoc on the lives of their children and on YOUR children in their religious extremism - as they attempt to further their failed outdated social agenda and lust (heh) for power."

Stevie Green, BULLSHIT meister!

Of course the rule is this:... (Below threshold)

Of course the rule is this: If someone gets into trouble after having received the usual sex education, it means we need to redouble our efforts and provide more sex education. But if the same thing happens after having received abstinence-only sex education, it means that abstinence-only needs to be completely abandoned! Solid leftist principles.

re: "Where are those statis... (Below threshold)
Hank:

re: "Where are those statistics decreasing? In the godless People's Republic of Massachusetts..

is this why?


"Despite having low teen pregnancy and birth rates relative to most other states, the abortion rate in Massachusetts is higher than the national rate."

GarandFan No 10.It... (Below threshold)
Hank:

GarandFan No 10.

It's worse than that.
He's using a quote from 2005 (via MSNBC of course) to rebut the results of a 2-3 year study reported in 2010.

Once children become sexual... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

Once children become sexually active, which they will do - they are more likely to become rpegnant if they've received abstinence-only education in place of sex education that includes contraceptives.

The right wing extremists are pushing an agenda to do away with contraception at the same time they push AO ED. It will lead to more teen pregnancies, not less, as studies have clearly shown.

The current study did not address the question of pregnancies once they become active.

The study cited by this article has some "interesting" attributes.

Objective To evaluate the efficacy of an abstinence-only intervention in preventing sexual involvement in young adolescents.

No follow-up to chart the pregnancy rate among AO ED students was done.

Setting Urban public schools.

Participants A total of 662 African American students in grades 6 and 7.

Why so selective a target?

Once again we find right wing religious extremists with their socially-regressive agenda playing with science to support their religious beliefs.

The study is majorly flawed and selective.

But, but we dont want our c... (Below threshold)
914:

But, but we dont want our children to be punished with a baby..

Steve Green,You are ... (Below threshold)
Chiaroscuro:

Steve Green,
You are one angry prick. You need a pet. Or a hobby. Like becoming an alcoholic or something.

YOU HAVE KIDS?
Poor little cherubs.
Someone should have cut your balls off long ago so you couldn't contaminate the rest of the world.

Do you at least believe abstinance should be taught in conjunction with birth control? Or are you the type of lib that would put a finger cot on your 5 year old son's wee-wee and tell him it's OK to take little Susie's temperature when they play doctor?

We're all coercive Christia... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

We're all coercive Christian extremist liars, misleaders and distorter doctrinaires here, just following the agenda, Steve.

Re: Steve Green:F... (Below threshold)
James H:

Re: Steve Green:

First, you have horrible manners. Perhaps not much better than the average blog commenter, but somebody needs to call you out on it. It is possible to disagree with people politically, but to do so in a respectful manner. I have observed your appearances here on Wizbang for some months, and you completely and utterly fail to display even one iota of courtesy to other commenters.

Second, abstinence-based education is clearly part of the conservative Christian agenda. I will not argue that. But if you excise the religious rhetoric, you find that these conservatives have concerns that should not be dismissed lightly. In particular, I find conservative worries about promiscuity and, shall we say, creativity, among the younger set to be a compelling concern.

For the record, I prefer a comperehensive sex-ed program that educates adolescents on the consequences of behaviors and counsels them on safe procedures. But that doesn't mean I can dismiss other concerns out of hand.

"I will not argue that. ... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

"I will not argue that. But if you excise the religious rhetoric, you find that these conservatives have concerns that should not be dismissed lightly.

I'm not against abstinence. I'm against abstinence-only eduction because this been shown to increase the likelihood of teen pregnancies and STDs.

and I'm against any extremists, religious extremists or otherwise, who lie in order to further their agenda. If you consider calling out liars on their lies as "impolite" you must not be reading the comments I get in return merely because I dare disagree...

YOU HAVE KIDS? Poor little cherubs. Someone should have cut your balls off long ago so you couldn't contaminate the rest of the world.

Not unusual. That's the tone set by the moderators of this blog - who in fact have contributed to exactly that kind of language and "demeanor" with exactly those same kind of comments.

"It is possible to disagree with people politically, but to do so in a respectful manner."

Not around here, not in my experience - the moderators here have done little to promote that.

Odd you feel that way, Stev... (Below threshold)
James H:

Odd you feel that way, Steve. Despite political disagreements, I have cordial relationships with at least two of the moderators here.

I think that's swell, James... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

I think that's swell, James.

Bobdog, I wasn't trying to ... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Bobdog, I wasn't trying to be smug when I spoke about talking to my daughters. I'm very aware that teens are not always completely honest with their parents.

My older girl is almost 19 now, and I'm certain she has enough sense to do the smart thing. And so far I've been lucky with my 14-year-old, but I know that things can change quickly and that a "good" girl can "go bad" overnight. So if I sounded like I was putting on airs, I apologise.

My daughters, like Sarah Palin's, know that their parent will love them and help them no matter what choices they make, but they also know the type of choices I want and expect them to make. Whether they are taught A-O or Comprehensive in school, I made sure they knew what they needed to know to get through real life.

politics aside, nice entry ... (Below threshold)
Hank:

politics aside, nice entry and good luck with the girls, Bruce. Those are tough ages, both for the girls and also for the parents.

Regards.

Thanks, Hank.... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Thanks, Hank.

Steve Green,Again, y... (Below threshold)
Weegie:

Steve Green,
Again, you claim that there exists compelling data that shows abstinance-only classes do not work, yet again you fail to cite or reference any study or data.

You do know that without data, as the old saying goes, you're just another a-hole with an opinion.

As ever, I will not be holding my breath waiting for you to cite all the wonderful, legitimate data you claim exists.

Doesn't nyone find it distu... (Below threshold)
Just John:

Doesn't nyone find it disturbing that 1/3 to 1/2 of these kids began having sex by 9th grade?

"Again, you claim that t... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

"Again, you claim that there exists compelling data that shows abstinance-only classes do not work, yet again you fail to cite or reference any study or data."

It's well known by anyone who's looked into it. The right wing media and writers like Ben Stein can get away with their lies because their audience in large part doesn't read and doesn't do their own research.

Hint: What makes this bogus report so "newsworthy" is that its conclusions cut against what's known on the subject.

The study focused on 6th and 7th grade African American children in urban schools. It's a bogus piece of research that did no follow up to determine if abstinence-only education reduces the rate of pregnancy or the rate of STDs increases among teens who've only had abstinence-only sex ed.

It doesn't. It's as if there was no sex ed at all when it comes to pregnancy and STDs

"Abstinence-only is a re... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"Abstinence-only is a religious agenda item and it has no business in the public schools - at least when it comes to MY children."

Ah, it's religious. Has nothing to do with common sense or morality, right?

"You want your 17 year-old daughters barefoot and pregnant? Fine, take a cue from Sarah Palin and go ahead and "empower" your children to get pregnant before adulthood."

Yeah, because we all know that the other part of the equation, the male, has no such responsibility and does not need empowerment.

In fact, girls don't need to be taught to say NO to male advances. Go ahead and be loose. Just try to get him to wear a condom. It's cool.

Green, you're a broken record. Plenty for what you do say and even more for what you don't say.

"Plenty for what you do ... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

"Plenty for what you do say and even more for what you don't say."
"
Someday I"d like to hear your opinion, Oyster, instead of you fabricating and inventing what you think my opinion is.

Or feel free to address the issue itself, instead of the strawman arguments you mount.

I raised 3 daughters successfully. Sarah Palin didn't. 'Nuff said.

"I raised 3 daughters su... (Below threshold)
914:

"I raised 3 daughters successfully. Sarah Palin didn't. 'Nuff said."


Sarah's daughters appear beautiful and successful to Me You paranoid Obama suck up Stevie..

"....instead of you fabr... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"....instead of you fabricating and inventing what you think my opinion is."

You've given us your opinion, Steve. You're not very nice about it either, in fact, you're pretty much an asshole about it.

You intensely dislike Palin so much you have to make stuff up about why her daughter became pregnant to justify it. You have yet to hold her daughter responsible for it, nor have you once mentioned that her partner bears some responsibility. You insist that her daughter became pregnant as a result of abstinence only education; something you cannot possibly know and is extremely unlikely because she attended goverment schools. And again, her partner would had to have been just as ignorant of contraceptives. But you know this, Green. You don't let it stop you from making ridiculous claims though. Anyone who even finds the study discussed interesting is in your sights for a good vitriolic ad hominem.

Like James H, I prefer a more comprehensive approach, but I would also like to see it less "glorified". I'm of the opinion that they're actually avoiding considering the moral aspects of it as part of that education, lest some sanctimonious jerk raise hell and claim any moral discussion in the classrooom is "pushing a religious agenda".

Ultimately, I think it's a parent's responsibility. I think it's shameful that parents have become so dependent on public schools to teach our kids about sex.

The above is more than you deserve, Green, but you asked me.

If you think your ability to engage in respectful discourse is a moderator's job, then you have more issues than I thought. Have a look back at your very first comment here. One sentence. Nothing political or controversial at all. Your second comment days later, however, you lashed out quite rudely. No one had said a single word to you. Nothing. Since then you've only gotten what you dished out. So don't even try to blame the moderator.




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