News Flash: Abstinence-Only-Sex-Education STILL Does Not Work

2 March, 2009

I have written about the failure of Abstinence Only Sex Education here, here, here, here, here, here and here (and I have touched upon it in other posts).  Now, courtesy of the Texas Freedom Network, we have further proof (I found it through the Americans United website) out of the great state of Texas.

Texas has long been held up as the poster child for abstinence-only sexuality education. In fact, Texas consistently leads the nation by a wide margin in federal abstinence education dollars more than $18 million in 2007 alone. What has not been known until this study, however, is what public schools are actually teaching students about sexuality education in their classrooms. And the news is not good. (from the TFN site)

The Texas AOSE programs are “rife with inaccuracies, often based on programs that stress fear and shame and, most alarmingly, sometimes include religious material” (from AU).  Which is, really, not surprising —  AOSEis faith-based, specifically conservative Christian sects;  Christianity has always used fear and shame to shape behaviour;  and AOSE programs have to lie, especially about condoms.

The AOSEprograms were developed by conservative Protestant denominations as well as the Catholic Church.  Both groups view sex itself as evil, dirty and harmful.  So it is not surprising that many of the Texas programs (many of which are sponsored by religious groups) include religious indoctrination: 

. . . nearly 10 percent of Texas’ secondary school districts have incorporated religious material into their sex ed classes. One school district distributed a handout titled “Things to look for in a mate.” The first item listed was, “Is Jesus their first love?” Another district asked teens to explain what the Bible says about premarital sex (from AU). 

“Is Jesus their first love?”  Does anyone else hear that and cringe?  Or throw up in their mouth a little bit?

The Religious Right has been at war with condoms for decades.  In order to justify this war, of course, they have to lie:

The report also found that inaccurate information about condoms was found in 40 percent of the school districts. Most commonly, condom failure rates are exaggerated, or discredited claims are made that the AIDS virus can pass through latex condoms. (Not true, says the Centers for Disease Control.)

In my travels shadowing the Religious Right over the years, I’ve noticed this unrelenting hostility toward condoms. The thinking of the Religious Right seems to be that if young people find out condoms exist, they will start having sex.

I’ve got news for the Religious Right: Young people know about condoms, and they are having sex. The problem is, your groups have scared many away from using them. (Even Bristol Palin knows why this is irresponsible!) (from AU). 

Children know condoms exist.  They know what they are for — preventing STDs and pregnancy.  But if the school brings in some sex-education ‘experts’ who tell them that condoms don’t do either, the kids won’t use them.  They will still have sex at the same rate, but they will either use ‘unfit orifices’ to preserve virginity (without the condom, of course) or will just fuck and take their chances without the condom. 

These programs are the best example of ‘faith-based’ government out there.  Despite tons of evidence that the programs do not work, the sponsors ignore the research, ignore the data, and have faith that it really works.  It is woo science — no grounding in reality.  Politicians support it to get votes, the churches support it to get converts, and the schools use the programs to keep the local conservatives happy and get funding for a program for which they otherwise would find it hard pay.

Last year, Texas spent $18 million in 2007 on Abstinence-Only-Sex-Education in the public schools.  How did that work?  Texas spends $1 billion per year covering the costs associated with teen pregnancy.  Sounds like a good investment to me:  guilt, fear, lies, religion in the schools, increased numbers of abortions, and a billion dollars to deal with the inevitable.  Well, inevitable if the state keeps up with Abstinence-Only-Sex-Education.



  1. Mississippi (currently #1 in abstinence only education and teen pregnancy!) is in the same boat.

    When the new teen pregnancy numbers came out, the religious whack-job that designed the local abstinence only program actually told a reporter that responsibility for the jump in pregnancies started with the music industry.

    Words fail. Just like abstinence only education. Do none of these right wing nut jobs remember being teenagers?

    Thankfully my grandmother was of smarter stock than these politicians. She helped me move into my college dorm (when I was 14) and gave me a huge box of condoms and a couple of gallons of vodka, saying, “Don’t trust that a girl is on the pill. Always wear a condom. Don’t drink outside of your dorm room, and never get in a car with anyone who’s been drinking.” She knew you can’t completely change human nature, but you can sometimes channel it.

  2. Idiots.

  3. Bill: Faith is the ability to ignore evidence if you believe hard enough. Facts do not matter to the faithful.

    You went to college at 14?

    Craig: Succinct and pithy. Well done.

  4. Hi thanks for a great post. I’ll be back 🙂

  5. […] See original here: News Flash: Abstinence-Only-bSex/b-Education STILL Does Not Work b…/b […]

  6. It almost sounds like gambling addiction, this crazy belief that you’re going to win and when you don’t, it’s something completely ridiculous that you blame for losing.

  7. Philly: I suppose faith could be classified as an addiction; quite often, it is used as a substitute for drug or alcohol addictions. Doesn’t solve the problem, just replaces it with new ones.

  8. Last year, Texas spent $18 million in 2007 on Abstinence-Only-Sex-Education in the public schools. How did that work? Texas spends $1 billion per year covering the costs associated with teen pregnancy.

    Please, don’t tell me we’re going to have to bail them out too!

  9. Chappie: I think we are bailing out just about every state; the stimulus package has $40 billion for aid to state governments. It makes sense — Pennsylvania was lookin at shedding thousands of jobs. Of course, if they aren’t working, they aren’t spending money (or paying taxes).

    It is very inefficient of Texas, though. I bet that for an investment of, say $50 million in real comprehensive sex education, that billion for teen pregnancies would be cut in half.

  10. (((Billy))) “I bet that for an investment of, say $50 million in real comprehensive sex education, that billion for teen pregnancies would be cut in half.”
    Yes, but then the little whores would avoid the consequences of being a sinner. Money is no object when faced with the consequences of using “knowledge” to override the righteous wrath of the Lord! What about the children, Billy? Oh, woe! Won’t anyone think about (punishing) the children?!

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