Virginity Pledges Fail Says Johns Hopkins Study

It’s been a tough year for far right wing social conservatives whose moralizing and finger wagging was rejected by voters and contributed to stunning defeats in local, state and national elections. 2008 will end with more bad news for social cons. One more study from the highly respected Johns Hopkins University proves again that social conservative policies on sexual health, paid with your tax dollars, are failures.

From The Washington Post:

The findings are reigniting the debate about the effectiveness of
abstinence-focused sexual education just as Congress and the new Obama administration are about to reconsider the more than $176 million in annual funding for such programs."This study again raises the issue of why the federal government is continuing to invest in abstinence-only programs," said Sarah Brown
of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. "What
have we gained if we only encourage young people to delay sex until
they are older, but then when they do become sexually active — and
most do well before marriage — they don’t protect themselves or their

James Wagoner of the advocacy group Advocates for Youth agreed: "The
Democratic Congress needs to get its head out of the sand and get real
about sex education in America."


Valerie Huber, the chief abstinence lobbyist in Washington, whose membership is comprised largely of people who profit from the failed abstinence-only programs they get federal tax dollars to promote, questions the methodology of the study.  She offered no peer-reviewed, scientifically published data from an objective source to dispute the Johns Hopkins study.

Huber thinks that’s the appropriate response, because advocates for comprehensive sexuality education are always questioning studies and polls Huber’s organization, the National Abstinence Education Association, promote. The difference is NAEA polls are always suspect and the overwhelming weight of evidence from scientifically reputable organizations repeatedly demonstrates that abstinence-only is the 21st Century equivalent of the 1950’s "duck and cover". There is a threat, you should know what to do, but crawling under your desk wouldn’t have saved kids from a nuclear blast and abstinence-only programs don’t save kids from sexually transmitted diseases or unplanned pregnancies.

For Huber and NAEA — it’s really just about the fear anyway. Just like it is with all social conservatives. 

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  • invalid-0

    I would argue that Johns Hopkins’ and Rosenbaum’s research is very difficult to refute or smear as ‘flawed’. Her study surveyed around 3500 students and has been going on since 1995.

    PS. I love the “Duck and Cover” comparison.

    • invalid-0

      What most people fail to realize is that this study compares religious, conservative youth to religious, conservative youth. Dr. Bernadine Healy, the former head of both the Red Cross and the National Institutes of Health explains that the pledge itself is not what distinguishes these kids from most other teenagers. – These teens generally have less risky sex, i.e., fewer sexual partners.
      What studies have shown is that:
      – These teens are less likely to have a teenage pregnancy, or to have friends who use drugs.
      – These teens have less premarital vaginal sex.
      – When these teens lose their virginity they tend to do so at age 21 — compared to 17 for the typical American teen.
      – And very much overlooked, one out of four of these teens do in fact keep the pledge to remain chaste.
      The title of Rosenbaum’s ‘study’ should have been “Religious Teens Differ Little in Sexual Behavior Whether or Not They Take a Pledge.”
      A major report on teen sex education, released by Dr. Stan Weed of the Institute for Research and Evaluation in Salt Lake City indicated: “Within the United States, sexual activity rates have been going down among teenagers for about the last 12 or 13 years, and that coincides with when the abstinence education started. Abortion, pregnancies and out of wedlock births rates have also been going down among teens during that same time period. However, pregnancy, abortion and out of wedlock births have been rising for the older age group, between 19-25, a group that has not been targeted by abstinence programs.”
      The Rosenbaum study fails to show that abstinence education is useless; it has been effective and numerous other studies indicate this fact. You liberals just want to spread your immorality to all youth.

  • colleen

    "And very much overlooked, one out of four of these teens do in fact keep the pledge to remain chaste."

     You’re aware that this is a failure rate of, um,  75% amoungst religious, conservative youth?

    "You liberals just want to spread your immorality to all youth."

    Yes, that must be it.