Time to Admit Failure
Byline: The Register-Guard
Peering through the looking glass into the upside-down reality of Wonderland reveals this mind-bending bit of news: As yet another credible, nonpartisan study concluded that abstinence-only sex education doesn't work, a House conference committee controlled by Democrats gave the green light to record funding for these ineffective no-sex-until-marriage programs, which prohibit teaching about condom use and birth control.
It's easy to get a fix on just how inverted this political development is by looking at the results of the just-completed report on teenage sexual behavior by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
"At present there does not exist any strong evidence that any abstinence program delays the initiation of sex, hastens the return to abstinence or reduces the number of sexual partners" among teenagers, the study concluded. The report confirmed that comprehensive sex education programs - which include what most people understand to be actual education on the topic of sex - were producing exactly the kind of positive outcomes that were eluding the abstinence-only programs.
Teenagers who had taken comprehensive sex education classes were delaying the initiation of sex. Remember, the abstinence message is included in comprehensive sex education, just not at the expense of evidence-based instruction on contraceptive use and safe-sex practices. As a result, according to the study, sexually active teenagers who had received comprehensive sex education were reducing the frequency of sex, reducing the number of sexual partners and increasing condom or contraceptive use.
So how does House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., respond? By endorsing a record $141 million budget for community-based abstinence-only programs. That's more money than President Bush was able to wrangle out of a much more conservative Republican-controlled Congress. …