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Teen Birth Rate at All-Time Low Due to Condoms, but Abstinence-Only Funding Goes Up?

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Submitted by Heather Corinna on Fri, 2007-07-13 13:14

"In 2005, 47 percent of high school students (6.7 million) reported having had sexual intercourse, down from 54 percent in 1991. The rate of those who reported having had sex has remained the same since 2003.

Of those who had sex during a three-month period in 2005, 63 percent -- about 9 million -- used condoms. That's up from 46 percent in 1991.

The teen birth rate, the report said, was 21 per 1,000 young women ages 15-17 in 2005 -- an all-time low. It was down from 39 births per 1,000 teens in 1991."

So reports The Washington Post today on a thorough report compiled from statistics and studies at "22 federal agencies, and covered 38 key indicators, including infant mortality, academic achievement rates and the number of children living in poverty."

Lately, abstinence-only sex education has been being shown up more and more for what it is: useless at best, and outrightly harmful to many, especially for girls and GLBT youth. We've had some good studies coming up on the radar to document that credibly and accurately -- this one, believe it or not, even released by our administration itself, albeit VERY quietly -- and it's about time. These studies are showing very clearly that rates of abstinence between those given abstinence-only sex education, and those given comprehensive sex education don't differ in the slightest: in other words, abstinence-only lectures and curricula aren't making teens any more abstinent than they would be otherwise, nor influencing how many sexual partners teens have. That's pretty scary, considering the millions of taxpayer dollars put into it (actually, that part is just infuriating), and even more scary considering that kids relying on school for sex education, and having sex anyway, may not know what their actual risks are, or how to use contraception or safer sex when they do have sex, if all they have had is abstinence-only education. And at this point in time, that's the kind of sex education that many high school students in the states have been getting: in 2005, around eight million teens had this stuff as their sex ed.

Why then, did even U.S. democrats vote to not just continue, but increase, funding for abstinence-only sex education recently?

"Today, the House Democrats will waltz into the mark-up of the Labor HHS Subcommittee and proudly present a bill that puts their stamp of approval on domestic abstinence-only-until-marriage programs—an ideological boondoggle that threatens the health and well-being of America's youth.
The most appalling aspect of this sell-out is that that the Democrats will not only fully fund the worst of the failed abstinence-only-until-marriage programs—they'll give them a $27 million increase—the first in three years!"

Were they worried about keeping votes? Did they just not pay attention to all that was included in the funding they were voting on? Do people just not get it, no matter their political affiliation?

It's probably more likely the former than the latter, but just in case, why not send the Dems a reminder about how you feel about accurate sex education?

And hey: we all already knew that condoms rock, providing effective protection against BOTH oregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. But if you or a friend needs a refresher course in how to use one, take a look at our easy guide here. And while you're at it, find out why we've always been such strong supporters of comprehensive, inclusive (and feminist!) sex education and keep fighting the good fight.

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