WASHINGTON – Federal funding for abstinence education received much needed support from the nation’s largest women’s public policy group this week as it faces possible termination at the end of this month.
Concern Women for America expressed dismay over Congress’s persistent funding of programs that “promote sexual activity” amid its threats to pull the plug on the $50 million abstinence grant program set to expire on June 30.
Wendy Wright, CWA president, pointed to a recent Zogby poll that found 83 percent of parents in favor of educating their children to wait until marriage to have sex.
“Parents want abstinence education for their kids,” Wright said, in a statement. She noted that the government spends 12 dollars to promote contraceptives for every one dollar spent on abstinence.
“Letting this authorization expire will show whether congressmen represent parents and good health practices or groups that promote and profit from teen sexual activity,” Wright commented.
Democratic leaders vowed in May to let the abstinence program Title V expire, pointing to a new report that claimed the program failed to influence teens to engage in sexual intercourse later in life.
According to the study, students who had taken the abstinence course were no less likely to engage in sexual intercourse than students who had not taken the class. Moreover, among those who reported having had sex, the students who had taken the course had similar numbers of sexual partners and began having sex at the same mean age.
Christian analysts, however, have pointed out that the study only examined four out of more than 900 current programs and that students in the course were age 9-11 and were not evaluated until four to six years later.
“The fact is, the targeted children were too young to absorb the abstinence message, and there was no continuation of abstinence education into the High School years when adolescents are more likely to engage in sexual activity,” wrote S. Michael Craven, founding director of the Center for Christ & Culture, in a column.
Also, there have been other teen sex reports which show that early sexual experience can lead to harmful mental and emotional response.
A report by the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation in 2003 found that sexually active teens are significantly less likely to be happy and more prone to depression than teens that are not having sex.
Furthermore, 63 percent of teens 12-19 years old who had sex said they wish they had waited longer, according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
“Opponents of abstinence education point to faulty studies of no-longer used programs with minimal involvement to claim that all abstinence programs do not work,” Wright said.
“While criticizing splinters in abstinence programs, opponents ignore the log in their own eyes of the failure of sex-promoting programs to reduce teen sexual activity, pregnancies and sexually-transmitted diseases,” she concluded.