In fact, plenty of reliable studies demonstrate that abstinence education does work. Check out familyfacts.org and search for “abstinence.” One study, published in the journal Adolescent and Family Health and based on data from National Vital Statistics Records, the National Survey of Family Growth, and the Alan Guttmacher Institute (formerly the research arm of Planned Parenthood and no friend of abstinence education), notes that:
“The factors most strongly related to the decline in teen pregnancies and teen births from 1991 to 1995 were an increase in abstinence and a decline in the percentage of teens who were married. Increased abstinence among teens accounted for most of the reduction in births and for 67 percent of the reduction in out-of-wedlock teenage pregnancies.”
I could cite other studies that reached similar conclusions, but you get the idea. The notion that abstinence education has been proven false is utter nonsense. Sadly, though, it’s a message that’s catching on in certain quarters. New Mexico recently became the 15th state to reject abstinence-only funding from the federal government.
This despite the fact that surveys show parents overwhelmingly support abstinence education. “Over 90 percent of parents, at a minimum, want teens to be taught to abstain from sexual activity until they have at least finished high school,” one study from The Heritage Foundation notes. Almost as many, 84 percent, go further, preferring that teens be taught to abstain “until a couple is married or close to marriage.”
Parents aren’t alone: “Teens themselves also favor abstinence education: Over 90 percent agree that teens should be taught to abstain from sex until they have at least finished high school,” the Heritage study says. Of course, we should be teaching the whole truth - that sex outside of marriage (regardless of age) is always unhealthy, risky and morally wrong.
And what about the teens caught in the middle of this debate? “I think they’re the victims of a huge lobbying effort on behalf of the contraception education proponents, who truly do not want abstinence education to exist,” says Elayne Bennett, president of the Best Friends Foundation.
That’s why it’s so important for parents to make their voices heard. Don’t allow the condom crowd to push abstinence education aside. Our kids need us to speak up. “So many people have had sex and had sexual experiences, so you sort of feel left out,” says Kristen Brown, the girl I began by quoting. It’s time to help her and her friends understand that abstinence is not only perfectly normal. For the sake of their health and happiness, it’s essential.