FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Abstinence-only education might just work.
A landmark, federally-funded study shows the first clear evidence that these programs can persuade teens to put off having sex.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/02/art.sexed.jpg caption="An information table is shown at a rally outside the CDC-sponsored National STD Prevention Conference."]
This could have huge implications on the national debate over lowering teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
The study - which appears in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine - shows 33 percent of sixth and seventh graders who took an abstinence-only program started having sex within two years.... that's compared to 52 percent who were taught only about safe sex... and - 42 percent who learned about both safe sex and abstinence.
The Obama administration had cut out more than $170 million in annual federal funding for abstinence programs... and instead put more than $100 million toward other types of sex ed programs.
But based on these new findings - officials suggest similar abstinence programs could be eligible for government dollars.
Some call this abstinence research "game- changing"... that it comes after years of getting a bad rap.
But critics say the curriculum in this study isn't a good example of abstinence-only programs. They say the class studied didn't take a moral tone. It encouraged teens to wait to have sex until they're ready - not until they're married; and it didn't disapprove of condom use.
One researcher says the take-away is the best solution to fight this problem is to use a wide range of programs.
The results of this study come just a week after another report showing that after a decade of declining teen pregnancies... the rate is going up again among all racial and ethnic groups.
Here’s my question to you: What role should abstinence-only sex education play in preventing teen pregnancy?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Monica from Seattle writes:
Out of that 33% who started having sex after abstinence-only sex education, how many became pregnant or contracted an STD because they didn't learn how to protect themselves? Abstinence may be the only 100 percent effective way to prevent pregnancy or disease, but teenagers are still going to have sex. Shouldn't they have all the information available to them?
As an educator, I have seen first-hand that abstinence-only education works. Most of the claims made of abstinence-centered programs are way "off base". If anything, they seem to be more comprehensive. They invite young people to look at the "bigger picture." The physical, emotional, financial and spiritual consequences of teenage sex must be discussed. Abstinence educators have the courage to explore these realities with the young people they encounter.
I don't think abstinence-only programs as the only choice will work. I definitely think it should be taught as one of the choices. When so many young people don't classify oral sex as sex, there is a problem. It's not only teen pregnancies that are a concern, but STDs as well.
J.J. from Washington writes:
It does not work. There should be a variety of birth control methods taught to these teens. Teens are going to have sex whether parents like it or not. It's better to eliminate the stigma of teen sex than to have teens who feel like they can’t seek out some form of birth control because their parents are going to find out. Teens need to be educated on all of their options, not just preached at to say "no."
The fact that teen pregnancies are rising for the first time in ten years tells me that what we have been doing for those ten years has been working pretty well. Wish all government programs did that well.
E. from Chicago writes:
Unless we've found a way to rein in teenage curiosity, there better be a combination of the two programs. Both abstinence and sex ed should be taught. By the way, this study wasn't a game-changer; AIDS was the game-changer.