As crazy as that title sounds, it is exactly the argument put forward by some pro-“abstinence-only” folks.
“There are kids who don?t want to know how to put on a condom because they don’t want to have sex,” said Leslee Unruh, president and chief executive of the National Abstinence Clearinghouse, the nation?s largest network of abstinence educators, based in South Dakota.
If they don’t want to have sex, then why do you need to firehose the kids with an “abstinence-only” program? Don’t those kids – the ones that don’t want to have sex – already get your ideas?
That states are walking away from such funding alarms abstinence-only groups, who insist that cutting off this source of revenue will undermine their progress in fighting teen pregnancy and curtailing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
Teen pregnancies in the U.S. have steadily declined: Between 1995 and 2002, teen pregnancy rates dropped 24 percent, according to a study by Columbia University and the Guttmacher Institute that was published in January. The report found that 14 percent of the decline was a result of teens waiting longer to have sex; 86 percent was attributable to the use of contraception.
It’s indisputable that abstaining from vaginal intercourse is the only sure-fire way to avoid pregnancy, and abstaining from all sexual activity is the only guaranteed method to avoid the spread of STDs, and therefore abstinence education has a place in any good sex education program. However, the statistics are clear – if the goal is reducing pregnancy and disease, “abstinence-only” programs fall far behind comprehensive sex education programs in effectiveness. Teaching contraception is almost seven times more effective than abstinence-only.
This is a no-brainer. The only reason we are having this dialog is that wingnuts aren’t really interested in creating policy that reduces teen pregnancy – they are interested in controlling people, and pushing a religious agenda.