The City and it’s extremist allies will tell you that only so-called “comprehensive” sex education works, and that “abstinence-only” curricula have been “proven” not to work. But this is simply not true. The National Abstinence Education Association puts out an annual publication entitled Abstinence Works: Abstinence-Centered Programs that Reduce Teen Sex. The 2011 edition includes 22 abstinence-centered curricula which have been evaluated by independent researchers and found to have statistically significant results in reducing teen sex. While the federal government pulled funding from over 150 studies of abstinence programs that were still in progress in 2010, there is still much promising research in the works. Abstinence-centered risk avoidance curricula are just as well supported by scholarly research as the condom-based programs the city is mandating, and they do not contain materials that are offensive to many parents.
Special interests will tell you that abstinence centered programs constitute “sticking our heads in the sand” by providing students no information about contraceptive methods, but again, this is simply not true. Many abstinence-centered programs contain plenty of information about contraceptive methods: how frequently they fail to protect young people from pregnancy and STDs, and how condoms provide limited protection against HPV and herpes. These are real-world, medically accurate facts that should influence a child’s decision about whether he or she should be sexually active outside a long-term mutually monogamous relationiship such as marriage. Maybe it is those who downplay the serious limitations of “safer” sex who have their heads in the sand. New York City parents and children deserve a choice in this serious matter.
We will be featuring some of the excellent evidence-based abstinence-first curricula in the coming days and weeks on our blog, so be sure to check back regularly to learn more.