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Abstinence only instruction

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As Congress debates the funding levels (currently $50 million) of school based abstinence only programs, it is instructive to examine two studies on the matter.

The findings of the studies are contradictory and both studies are valid.

Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. conducted a longitudinal study examining four well-run and replicable abstinence only instruction programs.

The Annenberg Center for Policy Research presented a study at the 06 International AIDS Conference in Toronto based on randomized controlled trials of statistically significant number of teens in Philadelphia.

The findings of the Mathematica study suggests that abstinence only programs are ineffective, the Annenberg study suggests the opposite.

Congress, faced with the dilemma of contradictory research findings often splits the difference and develops policy that is neither fish nor fowl.


In this instance, the political influence of the Religious Right was sufficient to push the balance decisively in favor of abstinence only programs.

In reaction to the political heavy handedness of abstinence only programs' political supporters there is a growing movement to reject them. In my opinion this is a mistake.

I personally know forty some public school kids who take abstinence seriously and whose positions have been validated by their schools' sympathetic explanations of abstinence.

Abstinence does not work for every kid, but numerically it probably remains the most used form of sexual behavior.

If abstinence is consistently applied it will prevent not only pregnancy and STDs, but also the adverse socio-economic effects of teen sex.

Clearly, abstinence must be a voluntary and uncoerced commitment.

But if a teen makes such a commitment, abstinence instruction provides a support network.

In addition to the beneficial effects that abstinence has on sexual behavior, sincere commitment to it builds an intangible but important trait: INTEGRITY. No other form of sexual education or behavior can do that.

Abstinence is not about avoiding sex- it is about building character.
Believe it or not, kids won't die if they wait on sex until they are mature enough emotionally and socially to handle it.

Progressives should not cede ethical and principled forms of sexual conduct, such as abstinence to the religious right.

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Robert Chapman is greatly interested in developing political awareness among as many people as possible.

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Growing up before birth control pills and in a sma... by calvinthecat on Friday, Jun 22, 2007 at 10:17:13 AM
Thanks for the support!!!!!!!RC... by Robert Chapman on Friday, Jun 22, 2007 at 11:25:01 AM
The far right's abstinence only sex ed DOES NO... by kanawah on Friday, Jun 22, 2007 at 10:42:37 AM
The points made about the prevalence of premarital... by Robert Chapman on Friday, Jun 22, 2007 at 11:23:53 AM
I am a Registered Nurse working in Public Health. ... by Pamela on Friday, Jun 22, 2007 at 10:53:00 AM
Ok, I see your point and should be more clear.Kids... by Robert Chapman on Friday, Jun 22, 2007 at 11:29:03 AM
 I remember high school. I went to an all gir... by cluelessfl on Friday, Jun 22, 2007 at 11:09:26 AM
Plenty of kids lie to me; it happens every single ... by Robert Chapman on Friday, Jun 22, 2007 at 11:36:33 AM
Kids live in a complex world today. They are heav... by Bernard on Friday, Jun 22, 2007 at 12:35:34 PM
Thank you for your candid assessment of adolesence... by Robert Chapman on Friday, Jun 22, 2007 at 1:01:33 PM
being  originally from the country with no se... by Mark Sashine on Friday, Jun 22, 2007 at 2:18:28 PM
I am unqualified to discuss the merits of Panurg&#... by Robert Chapman on Sunday, Jun 24, 2007 at 1:11:18 PM
Sexual intercourse within marriage only, period , ... by Bob Gormley on Friday, Jun 22, 2007 at 6:25:53 PM
Mr. Gormley, let me ask you, is the prospect of ma... by Robert Chapman on Sunday, Jun 24, 2007 at 12:11:19 PM
Just what is being abstained from? There is a grea... by Blue Pilgrim on Saturday, Jun 23, 2007 at 2:21:08 AM
Good Point....    For me abstinence... by Bob Gormley on Saturday, Jun 23, 2007 at 7:37:10 AM
The Blue Pilgrim raises an excellent question:&nbs... by Robert Chapman on Sunday, Jun 24, 2007 at 11:46:23 AM
What I find horrifying about many 'abstinence ... by lwarman on Saturday, Jun 23, 2007 at 5:43:08 PM
As I noted in the piece, a valid study found that ... by Robert Chapman on Sunday, Jun 24, 2007 at 1:21:49 PM
Something is not working. Last year the United Sta... by pratliff94 on Monday, Jun 25, 2007 at 9:07:33 AM
I am terribly sad about your sufferings.  It ... by Robert Chapman on Monday, Jun 25, 2007 at 10:52:58 AM