Parade Magazine asked its readers if abstinence-only-until-marriage programs should continue and the overwhelming response, 85 percent so far, says no. Voting is still open, so make sure your opinion is heard. Currently the Department of Health and Human Services is trying to do an end run on Congress and entice 25 states that have rejected abstinence-only to rejoin the program before the Bush Administration leaves office. Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin have said they support abstinence-only-until-marriage programs and have attacked Sen. Obama and Sen. Biden for supporting age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education.
Parade Magazine framed the question this way (Click
here to vote):
teen pregnancy seems pervasive. Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s
pregnant daughter, Bristol, and pop star Britney Spears’ sister, Jamie Lynn,
both now 17, made recent headlines. And a high school in Gloucester, Mass.,
drew national attention when nearly 20 students became pregnant. In fact, after
dropping steadily for a decade, teen birth rates rose slightly.
too soon to say if this is an aberration or signals a trend, but we do know
that American girls are far more likely to get pregnant than teens in other
developed nations. The U.S. teen-pregnancy rate is about 7.5%. According to figures
from the Alan Guttmacher Institute, that’s almost twice as high as Britain and
four times higher than Sweden or France. Why? “American adolescents are as
likely to have sex as European teenagers but less likely to use contraception,”
says Kristin Moore of Child Trends, a nonpartisan research center that studies
Sex. Abortion. Parenthood. Power.
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U.S. spends $2 billion annually on sex education, including $176 million in
federal money for abstinence-only programs. An analysis last year by the
nonpartisan National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy found
that two-thirds of programs that included information on both abstinence and
contraception had positive results. The study found no strong evidence that
abstinence-only programs work. Tell Us: Should abstinence-only sex ed