Is Federal Funding for Abstinence-Only-Sex-Education Done For?

11 May, 2009

Over the past year, I have been a frequent critic of Abstinence-Only-Sex Education.  The main reason?  it does not work.

Don’t get me wrong.  Abstinence does prevent pregnancy and can limit the spread of sexually-transmitted-diseases (frottage (rubbing the genitals together without penetration (dry-humping)), which, technically is not sex, can infect a partner).  The problem is, AOSE does not increase abstinence.  It does, however, increase the chance of unprotected sexual intercourse and unprotected anal intercourse (referred to as ‘saddlebacking’).  Which increases teen pregnancy rates and infection rates for such diseases as chlamydia, AIDs, gonorhea and herpes.  In many states, AOSE is also quite often presented as part of a religious program, stressing faith and Christian morality over facts.

Thanks to anti-tax zealots, money for education (of any kind) is scarce.  Why is the federal government providing money to states to specifically support AOSE?  Well, maybe it won’t anymore (from Reuters):

WASHINGTON, May 7 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama‘s $3.55 trillion budget proposal, released on Thursday, eliminates spending for programs that teach U.S. schoolchildren sexual abstinence and shifts funds to programs aimed at reducing teenage pregnancy.

The administration’s $78.4 billion spending plan for the Department of Health and Human Services, which must be reviewed and approved by Congress, includes support for teen pregnancy prevention.

“The program will fund models that stress the importance of abstinence while providing medically accurate and age-appropriate information to youth who have already become sexually active,” the budget proposal said.

The so-called “abstinence only” programs, backed by many social conservatives who oppose the teaching of contraception methods to teenagers in schools, have received about $1.3 billion in federal funds since the late 1990s.

A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics published in March said the U.S. teen birth rate rose for a second straight year in 2007 after a long decline.

Some experts blame the teen birth rate increases on government support for “abstinence-only” education under the Bush administration, which left office in January. But abstinence-only advocates have defended it as sound.

The American Public Health Association and U.S. Institute of Medicine told Congress last year that scientific studies have not found that abstinence-only teaching works to cut pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases. (Reporting by JoAnne Allen)

For all those who support AOSE:  note what the article says:  “The program will fund models that stress the importance of abstinence while providing medically accurate and age-appropriate information to youth who have already become sexually active.”  In other words, it is Abstinence-Plus-Sex-Education.

Which is pretty much what I was taught:  don’t do it, but if you do, be smart about it.  Which is pretty much what my kids have been taught.

It’s going to take a long time to undo the damage of 30-odd years of neo-conservative bullshit.  And, as Republicans were so fond of saying for the past 8 years, elections have consequences.  You lost.  Which means we can step away from faith-based government.



  1. Why, oh why can’t all parents and teachers be like the Postparents were? If we just don’t mention sex in any way whatsoever, the kids won’t know what it is and thus can’t get pregnant or diseased.

  2. When I stared my plenary indulgance in eduction it was at a Catlick school, Abstinence was pounded into our heads from time in memorial, but as I grew all of us learned that the absolute one thing that did not work was abstinence, in fact more teenage pregnancies were always found on the Catlick side of town. The fact that the government was even (if) pushed into supporting this in the first place is a shame to the progressive nature our contry was truly formed on. I hope it goes the way of the dinosaurs.

  3. Abstinence-Plus-Sex-Education

    That’s the approach I always believed in, even when I was a Christian.

    • Abstinence-Plus-Sex-Education

      The same approach my parents believed in and taught me. The only sensible approach

      • And, so far, it’s working for (((kids))).

  4. Postie: But then the young lady meets up with a young man who knows just enough to get in trouble and, lo and behold, they get in trouble.

    Tau: I think it comes down to people who want to punish teenagers for doing what they did as teenagers.

    Chappie: As (((Wife))) puts it, if you take out the education, all your left with is sex.

    And you don’t even have to believe in A+ because there is lots of evidence that it works. No beleif needed.

    • Yeah, I guess so… It’s like I told the Postsisters growing up, “You can’t trust men. We’re all pigs.” Lo and behold, one of them got pregnant at 16.

      • Sounds like you have an interesting family. Are you still in touch?

      • Oh, sure. We’re very close. In fact, the youngest is moving to NY in a few months and will live with me for a while.
        You’re right about interesting, though. Four siblings: One teen pregnancy, two alchoholics and one death from same. On the other hand, four siblings: One interpreter for the deaf, one head of a school for autistic children and one actor.

      • Kewl.

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