Texas study shows abstinence only education makes things worse.

I’m slowly getting caught up on my current events and I missed this MSNBC news item when it was published back on February first. It reports on a study commissioned by the Texas Department of State Health Services and carried out by Texas A&M University on the effectiveness of the state’s abstinence only sex education program. President Bush made these programs one of the corner-stones of his reelection campaign because he supposedly believes it’s the best and most effective way to curb teens having sex and the related problems that can come from that pastime. What better place to see if it’s working than in the President’s home state where he helped get such programs running?

Well, let’s just say it’s a good thing Bush doesn’t read newspapers because that way he can continue to claim the programs are very successful the same way he can claim that the Iraqi’s had weapons of mass destruction—by being immune to reality.

The study showed about 23 percent of ninth-grade girls, typically 13 to 14 years old, had sex before receiving abstinence education. After taking the course, 29 percent of the girls in the same group said they had had sex.

Boys in the tenth grade, about 14 to 15 years old, showed a more marked increase, from 24 percent to 39 percent, after receiving abstinence education.

Abstinence-only programs, which have sprouted up in schools across the nation, cannot offer information about birth control and must promote the social and health benefits of abstaining from sex.

Not only are these programs not working they seem to be making things worse, but that tends to be on par for this President. Let’s take something that’s not a good situation already and see if we can’t make it worse! Iraq? No problem. Social Security? In the bag. Teens practicing unsafe sex and getting pregnant or catching STDs? You can count on Bush to make it worse.

So let’s see what the score is so far:
Raging Teenage Hormones – 1
Texas Abstinence Programs – 0

 

31 thoughts on “Texas study shows abstinence only education makes things worse.

  1. Once again this proves that you can’t stop teenagers from having sex, you can only ensure that they do it safely.

  2. Just a curious tidbit: About 20 years ago Lab workers cut off the head of a frog while it was copulating with another frog, and he just kept on humping away for some time.

  3. I think everyone is missing out on the more dangerous concern here.  Let’s not let this become another case where people get caught up in what SEEMS to be the issue, but in reality is simply a cover for the more sinister agenda.

    Obviously, the liberal media has subverted this report, and is putting out “facts” without checking with the President first.  We take it for granted that this could happen in a hippie state like Massachusetts, but not in a grass-roots place like Texas. 

    Frankly, your cynicism disheartens me.  Remember: it ain’t true until the government says it’s true.

  4. Obviously, the liberal media has subverted this report, and is putting out “facts” without checking with the President first. (Emphasis Added)

    You have got to be kidding me. Please?

  5. I remember being a teenager. Nice, upstanding straight-A student, honors classes, the whole bit. And having sex like it was going out of style. Early and often. No, I didn’t have a psychological issues, self-esteem problems, or abuse in my past. I was just a horny teenager, like most. Hell, I could have named ‘sex’ as my favorite extracurricular activity.

    But I was on the pill and no stranger to condoms, as well. Abstinance-only education makes my blood boil. I now inform teenagers at any opportunity that presents itself that birth control is available cheap (or free) at Planned Parenthood and they have the right to obtain birth control without their parent’s consent or knowledge. Just doing my small part …

  6. Brandy, I suspect that if you were in charge of the Sex-Ed curriculum, that teen pregnancy would drop and graduation rates would improve.  More kids would go to college.  Over the long haul, a great deal of economic and personal misery for young people and for society, would be avoided.

  7. And just from the other side:
    I had sex education from about age 7, first from mom and later in classes.  We studied all the ins and outs (heh) and learned about birth control and guess what—I didn’t have sex until college.
    If you give kids the tools to make their own decisions and be responsible about those decisions no matter what they decide to do, they’ll likely…make responsible decisions and behave responsibly!
    If you treat them like dumbass hicks then that’s what they’ll be.
    Brandy, I hope you are a teacher, sex-ed or other!

  8. I learned about sex ed early, too.

    And didn’t end up having sex untill after high school.  But mostly because I’m a nerd, and couldn’t get any wink

  9. Obviously, the liberal media has subverted this report, and is putting out “facts

  10. I remember being a teenager. Nice, upstanding straight-A student, honors classes, the whole bit. And having sex like it was going out of style. Early and often. No, I didn’t have a psychological issues, self-esteem problems, or abuse in my past. I was just a horny teenager, like most. Hell, I could have named ‘sex’ as my favorite extracurricular activity.

    Darling, make my night and tell me that your preferred partners were the slightly chubby nerds who populated the honors English classes.  Please?  I got some poetry fer ya, little girl…

  11. When I went to High School here in Texas during the late 70’s/early 80’s, Sexual Abstinence meant you didn’t have a car. Sex Ed. in school was just as controversial then as now.  Most of the school board were Baptists (Southern & Fundimentalists). The Baptists preached sexual abstinence and didn’t want sex discussed in the classrooms. Yet, their kids were some of the most sexually active. All you needed then was some Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill and a car, and you were set to party. In striving for independence, teens will always rebel against their parents. Do traffic laws prevent everyone from speeding?

  12. Where are all the anti-sex education posters when you need them?  I’m afraid we’re “unter uns” (approximately “just us chickens”) here.

    Here in Austria, kids learn about the birds and the bees (and how to avoid getting shat upon or stung) early and often. In most of Western Europe, in contrast to the US, sex education is taken for granted.  The result?

    The bad news is that America still faces crisis levels of unwed teen pregnancy.
    About ten percent of 15-19 year olds become pregnant each year. More than 40 percent
    of our teenagers will become pregnant before they reach their 20th birthday.
    America’s teen birth rate is almost 9 times higher than the Netherlands’, four times
    higher than Sweden’s, more than twice as high as Austria’s, and 65 percent higher
    than Great Britain’s. Currently in the United States, almost 400,000 babies annually
    are born to unmarried mothers under the age of 20.

    Now, I can’t claim that other cultural factors are not involved here.  But telling kids to “just shake their head” (Ronald Reagan’s approach to sex education) is not only medieval, but as the study Les provided here shows, simply doesn’t work.

  13. I am curious if there is any comparison against a population of kids who have had a more comprehensive sex education curriculum.

    In other words, would you see the same rate of increase, or higher or lower in sexual activity, among the same age kids if they taught about condoms, pills, the responsibilities of sex, etc.

    Also, is there any mention of pregnency rates as opposed to just sexual activity in the report?

  14. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind seeing some comparative studies as well and I would think there’s probably some out there. This isn’t the first study that says Abstinence Only programs don’t work as there’s been plenty of others over the years. I think part of the problem is that there’s so much variance in other programs due to worries of pissing off parents. I’ll see if I can dig up any info on comparative studies.

  15. Darling, make my night and tell me that your preferred partners were the slightly chubby nerds who populated the honors English classes.  Please?  I got some poetry fer ya, little girl…

    Sorry Skippy! Bad boys was my thing. Fast cars, long hair.

    Though I was adept at finding the incredibly smart ones. You know, the little bastards that could skip class and do drugs and still remain the star of the soccer team with a perfect SAT score.

    I couldn’t handle mental deficiency, no matter how cute the package.

  16. Brandy, I suspect that if you were in charge of the Sex-Ed curriculum, that teen pregnancy would drop and graduation rates would improve.  More kids would go to college.  Over the long haul, a great deal of economic and personal misery for young people and for society, would be avoided.

    Wow. Thanks! I tend to think I have a fairly healthy attitude about it.

    Shana, no, I’m not a teacher. But I do wish I had an audience more often with preteen and teenage girls. I think I could help quite a few of them out, though the administration and parents would probably not condone much of what I’d say. So I just bend the ear of teenage neices/nephews and friend’s kids when the opportunity arises. And I hope they spread the word.

  17. The uk has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in Europe,the Dutch one of the lowest, many factors come into play including a social security system that is exploited in the UK according to some.
    The Dutch do however have a very open attitude to sex education.
    A google of Dutch sex education is very informative. 
    Abstinence programmes have not yet been advocated over here yet,but with the increase in religious zealotry we are experiencing I guess its just a matter of time.
    regards

  18. …but with the increase in religious zealotry we are experiencing I guess its just a matter of time.

    What is it with us Anglos nowadays?  While most of Western Civilization is leaving the church in droves, the Americans and now the Brits are increasingly sucked into simpleminded fundamentalist sects.  Maybe it’s bad television programming…

  19. Speaking of Sex Education. I learned about sex in High school.  Not from any class but from those pocket cartoon books that depicted sex in the most imaginative and exaggerated way possible. They left the Kama Sutra in the dust, showing what seeemed to be endless positions. I wonder if those religious cartoon books by Chick got inspiration from Popeye and Olive embracing in the books I saw. Ah, life is a tangled web indeed.

  20. Zilch
    Problem with Anglos
    IMO the reason for a return to fundementalist Christian views in this country is a reaction to the “Muslim menace in our midst”
    The Media ramp up this fear and it is creating a mood that is allowing T Blair and his reptile friends to pass very authoritarian anti terror laws that bypass the judiciary.
    People are walking on eggshells when it comes to any criticism of muslims to such a degree that Parking attendents are instructed not to ticket illegally parked cars outside mosques.
    Common sense is going out of the window to accomadate our muslim friends in the schools too
    As a result the Christians are getting more militant and it’s only a matter of time before creationism and Christian sexual mores are pushed onto the education agenda.
    regards

  21. I found the frog story interesting
    You might like to google necrophilic mallards.
    If thats not bad enough they apparently gang rape one another. big surprise

  22. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind seeing some comparative studies as well and I would think there’s probably some out there. This isn’t the first study that says Abstinence Only programs don’t work as there’s been plenty of others over the years. I think part of the problem is that there’s so much variance in other programs due to worries of pissing off parents. I’ll see if I can dig up any info on comparative studies.

    There are so many problems with sex education programs and the evaluation of these programs that it is difficult to know where to begin. In general, I’d say that most programs are fairly ineffective at reducing either teen sexual activity or teen pregnancy. (See the following article:  Interventions to reduce unintended pregnancies among adolescents: Systematic review of randomised controlled trials. By DiCenso, Alba; Guyatt, Gordon; Willan, A.; Griffith, L.BMJ: British Medical Journal. 324(7351), Jun 2002, 1426-1430).

    I suspect that the difficulty lies in the goals set out by these progams—reduce teen sex activity? (HAH!); reduce teen pregnancy? (maybe possible . . but consider that about 1/3 teen pregnancies are at least semi-intentional; reduce STDs? (now we’re talking—this could be done.)

  23. One more thing . . . the study listed above (back in 2002) also showed that abstinence programs make things somewhat worse. . . . It isn’t as though this information hasn’t been around for a long time.

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