WASHINGTON — Students who took part in sexual abstinence programs were just as likely to have sex as those who did not, according to a study ordered by Congress.
A long-awaited national study has concluded that abstinence-only sex education, a cornerstone of the Bush administration’s social agenda, does not keep teenagers from having sex. Neither does it increase or decrease the likelihood that if they do have sex, they will use a condom.
President Bush has consistently supported the view that sex education should teach “abstinence only” and not include information on other ways to avoid sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. White House Spokesperson Finley Green has asserted that “abstinence is more than sound science, it’s a sound practice . . . . Abstinence has a proven track record of working.”
In pushing an “abstinence only” agenda, however, the Bush Administration has consistently distorted the scientific evidence about what works in sex education. Administration officials have never acknowledged that abstinence-only programs have not been proven to reduce sexual activity, teen pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease. Instead, HHS has changed performance measures for abstinence-only education to make the programs appear successful, censored information on effective sex education programs, and appointed to a key panel an abstinence-only proponent with dubious credentials.
After 10 years and $1.5 billion in public funds these failed abstinence-only-until-marriage programs will go down as an ideological boondoggle of historic proportions,” said James Wagoner, President of Advocates for Youth.
High schoolers breathed a collective sigh of relief. Gordon, an 11th grader said, ” Holding hands with Gertrude was the pits! It was a lousy substitute for the real thing!”
Father Byron O’Brien of St. Mary’s Church disagreed. ” Abstinence is what all unmarried people should practice. I’ve never tried the other thing! I must admit I get strange feeling sometimes which I don’t underastand!