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Study Shows That Abstinence-Only Programs Increased Adolescent Birthrates in Conservative States

A new study published in the American Journal of Public Health examined the impact of federal adolescent pregnancy–prevention and sexuality block grants to the states from 1998–2016. Conservative states have generally used such funding for abstinence-only education, while more liberal states have focused these resources on comprehensive human sexuality and adolescent pregnancy prevention programs.

We have documented previous studies that show that abstinence-only education programs have a poor track record at preventing teen pregnancies, but this research was even more damning.

American Journal of Public Health, abstract: "Federal abstinence-only funding had no effect on adolescent birthrates overall but displayed a perverse effect, increasing adolescent birthrates in conservative states."

Unfortunately, such research has not stopped conservatives from pushing abstinence-only as an alternative to comprehensive sexual education and the Trump administration has embraced such programs including the work of Valerie Huber who helped found the National Abstinence Educators Association. Trump appointed Huber as senior policy adviser for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health and she recently was bumped up to the Office of Global Affairs’ as senior policy adviser, a position from which she can attack comprehensive sexual education programs internationally. "Huber is joining a team at the global affairs office that has already been “working fairly diligently to strip back sexual health and reproductive rights language and approaches in the global space,” said Jesseca Boyer, senior policy manager at the Guttmacher Institute." ...
"That foothold worries sexual and reproductive health experts and advocates. Abstinence-only sex education programs provide medically inaccurate information, do not prevent STIs, and have been linked to higher rates of teen pregnancy. Boyer said they’re also particularly problematic globally, where there can be additional challenges like higher rates of sexual violence and HIV transmission. Using a“one-size-fits-all, ‘just-say-no’ approach” to sex education globally, Boyer said, would be “shortchanging the ability of young people, and young people as they age into adults, to be equipped to make informed decisions about their health.”

By: Don Lam & Curated Content

#health #education #news #research

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