New Pediatrics study: Virginity pledges don't work -- and teens deny taking them, even when they did!
President George W. Bush’s administration more than doubled the budget for abstinence-only education programs since 1999 to $204 million this fiscal year.
Please, can we get some science into this discussion? Money's tight, except for the bankers, of course, so why fund the delusions of Christianist propagandists?
Teenagers who pledged to avoid sex until marriage were as likely to have intercourse as other U.S. adolescents, according to a survey of conduct mostly in 1990s.
Teens who took the pledge also were less likely to use birth control pills or condoms than those making no promise, according to the research in the January issue of Pediatrics.
“The results suggest that the virginity pledge does not change sexual behavior,” wrote author Janet Rosenbaum, a postdoctoral fellow in the department of population, family and reproductive health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
Today’s study included 289 middle-school and high-school students who said, in a 1996 U.S. survey of adolescent behavior, that they had taken a virginity pledge. They were matched with 645 other teens with similar attitudes toward 100 items, including religion and sex. After five years, the groups were compared on self-reported sexual behavior, test results for sexually transmitted diseases and the use of birth control.
Now comes the beauty part:
The researchers found that 82 percent of those who had taken the oath denied five years later having done so.
Haw. Isn't there a commandment that covers that?
Fifty-three percent of the teens in the pledge group said they had engaged in premarital sex compared with 57 percent of those who hadn’t taken the pledge. Forty-six percent of those who had pledged abstinence reported using birth control most of the time, compared with 52 percent of those who didn’t pledge.
The average age of sexual initiation for both groups was 21, which is higher than the average age of 17 for U.S. teenagers reported by the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University in Bloomington.
Teen sex has increased since 2001, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an Atlanta-based agency, said in June. Forty-eight percent of teens said they had sex last year compared with 46 percent in 2001, the agency said. Condom use declined slightly, to 62 percent in 2007 from 63 percent in 2003, the survey of high school students found.
Teenage pregnancies rose in 2006 for the first time in 15 years, according to a July report compiled by 22 U.S. agencies. The birth rate in 2006 increased to 22 births per 1,000 girls ages 15 to 17 from 21 births per 1,000 in 2005.
“Why not have an alternative message for kids who want to wait?” Pattyn said in a Dec. 23 telephone interview. “Instead of saying, ‘Turn it off,’ say: ‘Make it better, help it work, help these kids be abstinent.’”
Sure, have all the messaging you want. Just don't use my money to fund your religion!