The “abstinence-only” sex-educational philosophy of the George W. Bush administration, founded in unflinching Christian thinking, has turned out not to be as effective as its proponents had believed. The (UK) Guardian describes a report just issued by the US CDC on the matter:

Teenage pregnancies and syphilis have risen sharply among a generation of American school girls who were urged to avoid sex before marriage under George Bush’s evangelically-driven education policy, according to a new report by the US’s major public health body.

In a report that will surprise few of Bush’s critics on the issue, the Centres for Disease Control says years of falling rates of teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted disease infections under previous administrations were reversed or stalled in the Bush years. According to the CDC, birth rates among teenagers aged 15 or older had been in decline since 1991 but are up sharply in more than half of American states since 2005. The study also revealed that the number of teenage females with syphilis has risen by nearly half after a significant decrease while a two-decade fall in the gonorrhea infection rate is being reversed. The number of Aids cases in adolescent boys has nearly doubled.

This is not news, though … earlier reports have reached similar conclusions. This is just one more to throw on the pile of studies that shows abstinence-only doesn’t work.

Just in case any of the Bible-thumpers claim that these increases are due to the prevalence of “secular progressives” who’ve somehow thwarted those godly abstinence-only programs, it turns out the increase was in those regions most loyal to the abstinence-only philosophy:

The CDC says that southern states, where there is often the greatest emphasis on abstinence and religion, tend to have the highest rates of teenage pregnancy and STDs.

Curiously, proponents of abstinence-only refuse to see this as a massive “fail.” Rather, they claim it’s because abstinence-only hasn’t saturated society profoundly enough:

Kristi Hamrick, a spokeswoman for American Values, which describes itself as a supporter of traditional marriage and “against liberal education and cultural forces”, said the abstinence message is overwhelmed by a culture obsessed with sex.

Just another example of how religionazis always ignore or de-emphasize any facts that contradict their metaphysical beliefs.

The next that will happen, I suppose, is that Fox News will attempt to spin this news to appear to mean the opposite of what it actually does. Sound paranoid? No way … they’ve done it before!

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  • Alice12

    Abstinence isn’t the “bad” word that today’s culture makes it out to be. It’s actually the exact opposite – it’s a positive choice that teens can make to ensure a brighter and healthier future. Teens who choose abstinence don’t have to worry about STD’s or STI’s, and they don’t have to carry the emotional baggage that having sex brings. An abstinent teen can keep a clear mind to help make positive, healthy choices for their future. And most importantly, being abstinent means that you never have to live with regrets.

    “Game Plan” is a great abstinence-based curriculum that many schools across the United States are using. To learn more about “Game Plan”, visit http://www.justsayyes.org

    And for statistics that show how abstinence is working across the country, visit http://www.abstinenceworks.org

  • PsiCop

    Alice12, thanks for the comment.

    I don't think abstinence is a "bad" word. There's no argument that abstinence is the single best way to avoid STDs and pregnancies. Abstinence certainly works, when teens choose to abstain from sex.

    But that's the problem. Apparently some of them are choosing to have sex, and are not abstaining. When their sex education amounts to being told to abstain from sex, they end up being completely unprepared for the complications that accrue from the choice to have sex … including STDs and pregnancies.

    "Abstinence-ONLY" programs claim to prevent pregnancy … but if teens choose to have sex anyway, they do nothing.

    I'm sure your group means well, however, unless participation in your program has the power to FORCE teens not to have sex, or to MAKE SURE they NEVER choose to, then you do them no good by not telling them about birth control and disease prevention.