More Abstinence Only Sex Ed Leads to More Teen Pregnancies


Still waiting for emperical evidence that comprehensive sex ed reduces teen pregnancy?  This newest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention couldn’t make it any more clear.  States with abstinence only sex ed have more pregnancies.  Period.

Via The Hill:

Some women’s health advocates say the discrepancies are indication that comprehensive sex-education programs are producing results for states that offer them, while states emphasizing abstinence-only programs aren’t faring as well.  

Whatever the reason, the regional disparities are stark. In Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, for instance, 2008 birth rates were less than 25 per 1,000 teens aged 15 to 19, CDC found. In the same year, Arkansas, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas all had rates topping 60 per 1,000 teens.

Mississippi had the country’s highest rate (65.7), CDC says, while New Hampshire had the lowest (19.8).

Leslie Kantor, national education director of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said the report “makes it crystal clear that the teen birthrate is lower in states that provide students with comprehensive, evidence-based sex education.” 

“The report demonstrates that the surest way to reduce teenage pregnancy is to provide young people with comprehensive, medically accurate sex education, and doing so is especially urgent for African-Americans and Latino teens, who are getting pregnant more frequently than other young people,” Kantor said in a statement.

A recent report from the Guttmacher Institute, a women’s reproductive health group, bolsters those claims. All five states with the highest teen birth rates have adopted policies requiring that abstinence be stressed when taught as part of sex education, HIV education or both, the group found. Only one of the five states (New Mexico) mandates that sex education be a part of students’ curriculum. 

Of the four states with the lowest teen birth rates, none requires that abstinence be stressed to students, according to Guttmacher.

Sadly, thanks to governors who put running for higher office or bolstering their conservative credentials over caring for their constituents, abstinence only education hasn’t been completely thrown in the trashcan of sex ed yet. We’ll see how the pregnancy rates of states like

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