Overselling abstinence-only education

Monday, February 8, 2010

Regarding the Feb. 2 front-page article "Abstinence programs might work, report says":

I wonder whether advocates of abstinence-only education are reading the same study that I am. In this particular study, a full 33 percent of sixth- and seventh-graders who received abstinence-only education with no mention of safer sex went on to become sexually active in the next two years. Even if it is lower than the rate of the other groups, it is hardly a low number and should not be read as a testament to the effectiveness of abstinence-only education.

The Post missed the chance to report that these children are being denied crucial information on protecting their sexual health; that adolescents, sexually active or not, have a right to accurate and complete information on protecting their sexual health; that this study did not bother reporting rates of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases; and that this abstinence curriculum was unique among abstinence-only curricula.

Kripa Patwardhan, Herndon


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