Scientists tell congress to just say no to abstinence-only education

Filed under: Your Pregnancy, Health & Safety: Babies, In The News, Day Care & Education

Ten top researchers in the field of adolescent sexual and reproductive health recently sent a letter to members of congress calling for an end to government funding and support for abstinence-only education. The scientists note that "by design, abstinence programs restrict information... that may be critical to protecting the health of young people." If you ask me, abstinence-only education is like telling kids not to get into accidents without actually teaching them to drive or even how to put on a seatbelt.

The letter points out that studies repeatedly show that abstinence-only education basically doesn't work (whereas "many comprehensive sexuality education programs, which include information on both abstinence and contraception, do help young people delay initiation of intercourse.") The online version of the letter contains many links to the studies and reports that contributed to the scientists' conclusions.

The group notes that they are not alone in their criticism of abstinence-only education; all of the mainstream organizations that deal with the health of young adults have criticized the programs. These include the American Public Health Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, and the Society for Adolescent Medicine. There are links to the organizations' relevant policy statements as well.

The letter concludes, "given these serious scientific and ethical shortcomings, we strongly urge the U.S. Congress to reconsider federal support for abstinence-only education programs and policies." I agree completely.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.