With a name like the Heritage Foundation and a mission: “To formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense,” it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this group also goes to bat for abstinence-only education.
In April, they conducted an assessment of the effectiveness of 21 abstinence-only programs and declared:
“Opponents of abstinence education contend that these programs fail to influence teen sexual behavior. At this stage, the available evidence supports neither this assessment nor the wholesale dismissal of authentic abstinence education programs.”
Excuse me? I don’t just "contend" that these programs are a failure. I back up my contention with scientific research.
For example, a study published in the April issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health found that:
“Adolescents who received comprehensive sex education were significantly less likely to report teen pregnancy than those who received no formal sex education, whereas there was no significant effect of abstinence-only education.”
A different study conducted last fall by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy found:
“At present, there does not exist any strong evidence that any abstinence program delays the initiation of sex, hastens the return to abstinence, or reduces the number of sexual partners. In addition, there is strong evidence from multiple randomized trials demonstrating that some abstinence programs chosen for evaluation because they were believed to be promising actually had no impact on teen sexual behavior.”
“Findings indicate that youth in the program group were no more likely than control group youth to have abstained from sex and, among those who reported having had sex, they had similar numbers of sexual partners and had initiated sex at the same mean age.”
I’m not sure what about these studies remains unclear to the people at the Heritage Foundation. Isn’t it about time they just threw in the towel and admitted that abstinence-only education has proven to be a failed experiment?