Virginity Pledges Fail Says Johns Hopkins Study

Scott Swenson

Shocking News! Yet another study finds that virginity pledges promoted by abstinence-only programs don't work. How much longer will strapped taxpayers be forced to shell out $1.5 billion for programs that actually endanger teen health?

It’s been a tough year for far right wing social conservatives whose moralizing and finger wagging was rejected by voters and contributed to stunning defeats in local, state and national elections. 2008 will end with more bad news for social cons. One more study from the highly respected Johns Hopkins University proves again that social conservative policies on sexual health, paid with your tax dollars, are failures.

From The Washington Post:

The findings are reigniting the debate about the effectiveness of
abstinence-focused sexual education just as Congress and the new Obama administration are about to reconsider the more than $176 million in annual funding for such programs."This study again raises the issue of why the federal government is continuing to invest in abstinence-only programs," said Sarah Brown
of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. "What
have we gained if we only encourage young people to delay sex until
they are older, but then when they do become sexually active — and
most do well before marriage — they don’t protect themselves or their
partners?"

James Wagoner of the advocacy group Advocates for Youth agreed: "The
Democratic Congress needs to get its head out of the sand and get real
about sex education in America."

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Valerie Huber, the chief abstinence lobbyist in Washington, whose membership is comprised largely of people who profit from the failed abstinence-only programs they get federal tax dollars to promote, questions the methodology of the study.  She offered no peer-reviewed, scientifically published data from an objective source to dispute the Johns Hopkins study.

Huber thinks that’s the appropriate response, because advocates for comprehensive sexuality education are always questioning studies and polls Huber’s organization, the National Abstinence Education Association, promote. The difference is NAEA polls are always suspect and the overwhelming weight of evidence from scientifically reputable organizations repeatedly demonstrates that abstinence-only is the 21st Century equivalent of the 1950’s "duck and cover". There is a threat, you should know what to do, but crawling under your desk wouldn’t have saved kids from a nuclear blast and abstinence-only programs don’t save kids from sexually transmitted diseases or unplanned pregnancies.

For Huber and NAEA — it’s really just about the fear anyway. Just like it is with all social conservatives. 

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