Have you heard that the federal abstinence regulations target unmarried adults up to age 29? It's true. And as a 29-year old, I find it particularly absurd that the government thinks it's ok to tell me: "no sex for you … unless you're married." My initial response is that I'm a responsible adult—I don't want the government controlling my sex life (or making my medical decisions). And think about lecturing a bunch of adults to abstain from sex! It's like a TV sitcom, but actually funny.
It's this ridiculousness that Advocates for Youth (AFY) underscores in one of its recent ads about abstinence-only programs. In a brilliant campaign featuring business professionals stuffed into a classroom with funny "educational" posters on the wall, the ad says: "Abstinence-education for 29-year olds? Some things just don't fit." It cracks me up.
However, the not-so-funny truth is that federal funds are spent on these programs that have been proven not to work. With all of the critically under-funded programs in this country, why are we wasting money on ineffective, ideologically-driven, abstinence-only programs?
This is also the point of AFY's second ad that gives abstinence-only programs a big fat "F" on their U.S. Government report card. Abstinence-only programs have failed. The findings from the Congressionally-approved, scientific evaluation of abstinence-only programs aren't exactly subtle:
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Findings indicate that youth in the program group were no more likely than control group youth to have abstained from sex and, among those who reported having had sex, they had similar numbers of sexual partners and had initiated sex at the same mean age.
So, just to clarify, Uncle Sam… we should spend taxpayer money on telling unmarried adults not to have sex (instead of making sure they're informed on safe sex and actually know how to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections at an earlier age before they start having sex)—all this despite the fact that it would make no difference whatsoever in their sexual behavior? Oh, I see… Well, I think I'll side with Advocates for Youth on this one.
Tell Congress to end funding for failed abstinence-only programs.