Study on Abstinence-Only Program Increases Funding Debate

A new report released this week indicates that abstinence-only classes “might” be effective, increasing the debate regarding abstinence-only funding. The federally funded study was published in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine. Researcher John Jemmott III, told the Washington Post that “Our study shows this [abstinence-only programs] could be one approach that could be used.” Bill Albert of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy told the Los Angeles Times that this results of the study “should not be interpreted as a signal that abstinence-only education works at all times and under all circumstances. That doesn’t even pass the common-sense test.” In fact, an editorial published along with the report argues that “no public policy should be based on the results of one study, nor should policymakers selectively use scientific literature to formulate a policy that meets preconceived ideologies,” reported the Los Angeles Times. The proposed budget released this week for fiscal year 2011 does not include abstinence-only program funds, but raises funding for sex education and teen pregnancy prevention programs by $19 million to $129 million for 2011. The Obama administration essentially eliminated funding for abstinence-only programs in the fiscal year 2010 budget by requiring evidence-based sexual education programs. Another recently released study indicates that the pregnancy rate for 15 to 19 year olds rose three percent from 2005 to 2006 after more than a decade of decline. According to the New York Times some experts speculate that this rise in the teen pregnancy right might be related to the $150 million allotted annually to abstinence-only programs under the Bush administration.


Washington Post 2/2/10; Los Angeles Times 2/2/10; New York Times 1/26/10; Planned Parenthood Press Release 5/8/09

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