Sunday, May 13, 2007

Abstinence Only

A study by Mathematica Policy Research finds that government abstinence-only sex education programs do not reduce the amount of sex teenagers have. Liberals cheer, conservatives go looking for flaws. The study also shows that abstinence-only sex education does not reduce condom use when teenagers do have sex. Conservatives cheer, liberals go looking for flaws.

Why does anyone think that a government program is going to have any effect at all? Here's a guess: government sponsored safer sex education is going to have little or no effect on amount of sex or number of condoms used either. We spent $176M on these programs - Bush keeping social conservatives happy. We spent slightly more, $208M, under Clinton for safer sex programs to keep liberals happy (I wonder about the price difference. Are demonstration condoms that expensive? Must be special government-approved condoms). Well I'm not happy either way. Bug out.


jlbussey said...

What else can we expect but failure when the goals are so at odds with biological reality? Maybe they had the right idea 100 years ago: marry them off at 14 or 15 and recognize them as full adults. Even if we don’t take it that far, ceasing infantilizing them until they’re out of college (and sometimes beyond) can only help.

Der Hahn said...

I guess I'll make an R-rated comment (a nod to AVI's post above).

Juxtapose 'Abstinence Only' anti-smoking education with 'Abstinence Only' sex education.

Millions of dollars are spent to try to keep kids from smoking before 18. In addition, underage smoking (at least, obtaining tobacco products) is criminalized. Imagine the outcry if similar sanctions were proposed for sexual activity where both participants are under 18.

To what effect? In some cases teen smoking is actually increasing. Has the effectiveness of anti-smoking education for teens been evaluated? IIRC, similar programs like DARE are generally considered ineffective in preventing drug and alcohol abuse.

Are liberals calling for elimination of 'Abstinence Only' anti-smoking education? Teaching kids to practice 'safe smoking' since so many of them are going to do it anyway?

Anonymous said...


"abstinence-only sex education programs do not reduce the amount of sex teenagers have"

If only some of the kids are being told that and the rest aren't of course the few who are won't follow it. Also, if it isn't a value instilled at home, why should they believe the govt?

When I was a kid what worked was seeing a couple of folks who didn't get their syphillis treated on time. THAT was a pretty good advert fro abstinence.

I don't know why looking at the effects of AIDS doesn't deter people. Heck syphillis was curable, and AIDS is not. But we aren't allowed to show the kids anything that will require them to deal maturely with difficult themes. So, in addition to not dealing with the problem aggressively enough, we're are also protecting them to death.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

anon - syphillis wasn't curable until a few decades ago, but people put themselves at risk anyway. Not much changes about human nature.

Woody said...

Clinton gave the nation an example of alternative safe sex. It kept my fingers busy on the remote every time the news came on about him in front of the kids. Won't it be great to have him and Hillary back in the White House?

Anonymous said...

What makes anyone think kids pay attention to any government program?