Abstinence Education Works

Yesterday researchers published the results of a new federal study indicating that abstinence education does indeed work. The timing on this is interesting, to say the least.

The study, conducted between 2001 and 2004, followed African American public middle-school students. The purpose was to find out how effective, or ineffective, abstinence education is compared to comprehensive sex education.

The results?

Just under half of the students in the study who received sex-education classes that included information about contraceptives went on to have sex in the next two years. But only one out of three students in the study who received abstinence-only education did.

That’s pretty significant.  Researchers, activists and advocates from all over the ideological spectrum are paying attention to the study’s findings.  They agree with us that policymakers need to stop writing off abstinence education and instead allow it as a viable option for lowering the incidence of teen birth and STDs/STIs.

Of course, we said that over and over and over again to our own set of policymakers at the State Capitol during the course of the last few months, to no avail–AB 458 will be on its way to the governor’s desk shortly.

Instead, we heard repeatedly how “abstinence-only” education is a complete failure.  Au contraire!  Perhaps this study will help convince WI legislators that abstinence-centered education (which AB 458 will outlaw in Human Growth and Development programs) is not a “just say no” approach, but a viable, proven option for truly responsible sexual education.

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