Abstinence Programs Mislead Teens, Report Says

If there are two particular line items in the Bush budget that tick me off it is a) faith based initiatives and b) abstinence programs for teens. Faith based initiatives are millions of dollars to church programs with zero accountability or oversight. Today, the Washington Post has this jaw-dropping article on a new congressional report that shows the ludicracy of the program. (Via Slate)

Many American youngsters participating in federally funded abstinence-only programs have been taught over the past three years that abortion can lead to sterility and suicide, that half the gay male teenagers in the United States have tested positive for the AIDS virus, and that touching a person’s genitals “can result in pregnancy,” a congressional staff analysis has found.

Among the misconceptions cited by Waxman’s investigators:

– A 43-day-old fetus is a “thinking person.”

– HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, can be spread via sweat and tears.

– Condoms fail to prevent HIV transmission as often as 31 percent of the time in heterosexual intercourse.

One curriculum, called “Me, My World, My Future,” teaches that women who have an abortion “are more prone to suicide” and that as many as 10 percent of them become sterile. This contradicts the 2001 edition of a standard obstetrics textbook that says fertility is not affected by elective abortion, the Waxman report said.

1 comment on “Abstinence Programs Mislead Teens, Report Says
  • I agree that abstinence programs for teens have some serious drawbacks. A scarier thought is that the US is still one of the leading countries in terms of decreasing teen pregnancy rates. A British Medical Association report found six out of ten UK 16 to 24-year-olds admit to not using condoms, despite repeated government efforts to get the safe-sex message across. The UK has made a conscious effort to model their health programs around those used by the US but admit that they feel abstinence programs simply won’t work. Here’s an interesting article on the subject from the BBC:

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