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Abstinence Group Fights For Funding

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From Associated Press
By Kevin Freking

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WASHINGTON --Abstinence-only educators say there's more to their programs than the "just say no" mantra of the anti-drug movement.

But that's just what they're saying to Democrats looking to curtail a program that grew 17-fold - from $10 million in 1997 to $176 million this year - when the Republicans controlled Congress.

Democratic lawmakers have introduced legislation promoting comprehensive sex education instead of abstinence-only curriculum. They want to send money to schools that stress abstinence while also instructing students about the health benefits and side effects of contraceptives.

The abstinence groups aren't planning on losing any of their federal funding without a fight. They've opened their own trade association near the Capitol.

For youth in grades 9 through 12, the percentage of youth reporting ever having sexual intercourse fell from 54.1 percent in 1991 to 46.8 percent in 2005.

During that same time frame, condom use during the last sexual intercourse increased from 46.2 percent to 62.8 percent. However, the use of a birth control pill before last sexual intercourse dropped from 20.8 percent to 17.6 percent.

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Tango’s Take
As crazy as it sounds, some of this abstinence-only teaching might be successful. They had a 7% drop in kids having intercourse in high school over the span of 1991 to 2005. Teen pregnancy is way down. Even condom use, inexplicably, is up 16% over that period. The only dip is use of birth control pills. Which makes sense, if a teen gives her word to stop at third, it’s a lot easier to go buy some pro-fos from the local pharmacy than to convince mom to take you by Dr. Jorgenson’s for the pill. The abstinence-only campaign really can’t claim of all this success. Maybe it takes a mix of “Don’t have sex, it gives you crabs” with “Fine, have sex but be terribly, terribly careful about the whole thing.” Tina Fey’s policy is “your mouth can’t get pregnant.” Do with that what you will.

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