Abstinence Based Education Called a Myth

The British government is more realistic than the Bush administration. The Telegraph reports:

Sexual abstinence as an effective tool in reducing teenage pregnancy is a complete “myth”, the Government’s advisory body on the issue claimed yesterday.

The Independent Advisory Group on Teenage Pregnancy said that research from the United States showed that contraception was the way to bring down rates. Researchers from Columbia University and the Guttmacher Institute examined the relative roles of abstinence and contraceptive use in the “remarkable decline” in US teenage pregnancy rates, which dropped 27 per cent from 1991 to 2000. They said that 86 per cent of the decline in teenage pregnancy was due to improved use of contraception.

Only 14 per cent of the drop amongst 15- to 19-year-olds was linked to reduced sexual activity, according to the study, published in the latest edition of the American Journal of Public Health.

Gill Frances, the chairman of the British advisory group, said: “Providing young people with good information, advice and contraceptive services, is the way to reduce teenage pregnancy.

“It is a myth that abstinence is a better approach and this US study confirms it.”

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  1. 1
    Cardozo says:

    It’s nice to see the tide changing on this issue, at least in England.

    Some funny phrasing in the first paragraph though. Sexual abstinence as an effective tool in reducing teen pregnancy is a complete “myth.” Sexual abstinence education, perhaps. But as far as I know, abstinence itself is pretty darn near 100 percent in preventing teen pregnancy.

    But it’s good to know the Brits are going there own way, at least some of the time. Maybe they’ll listen to their public and start staying out of unprovoked wars.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    They clearly mean “sexual abstinence” to mean the push towards teaching this as opposed to contraception, but if taken literally the first paragraph does have a problem as you note. Teaching abstinence and having it practiced are two different things.

  3. 3
    Nick says:

    As an educator I can say that this is not surprising. Teaching kids about the virtues of abstinence is one thing-after all it is a 100% protector against unwanted pregnancy and STD. On the other hand, to teach about abstinence at the EXPENSE OF teaching about contraception and safe sex is like a doctor telling someone about how to lose weight through dieting, but never mentions exercise.

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