Abstinence Education a Failure? Not So Fast

Social lefties are giddy that a new study is making the rounds which purports to show precisely that, but dig a little deeper, and that conclusion becomes premature. For one thing, the study only looked at four such programs. For another, the report itself includes this caveat:

“Targeting youth at young ages may not be sufficient. Most Title V, Section 510 abstinence education programs are implemented in upper elementary and middle schools and most are completed before youth enter high school. The findings from this study provide no evidence that abstinence programs implemented at these grades reduce sexual activity of youth during their high school years. However, the findings provide no information on the effects programs might have if they were implemented in high school or began at earlier ages but continued through high school.

“Peer support for abstinence erodes during adolescence. Peer support for abstinence is a significant predictor of later sexual activity. Although the four abstinence programs had at most a small impact on this measure in the short term and no impact in the long term, this finding suggests that promoting support for abstinence among peer networks should be an important feature of future abstinence programs.”

It’s obvious that any meaningful effort would have to be “comprehensive” (to use a word the Left loves so much). I would also add that, for the best effect, abstinence education in schools would have to be part of a broader societal effort to take back the culture: reemphasize parenting, condemning sexual saturation in the media, reaffirming that sex has consequences by fighting abortion & free distribution of birth control, not electing moral degenerates President…Meanwhile, Michael Medved has some good insights on sex education & federal funding

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