Target: United States Congress
Goal: Cut public funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage education programs
Currently, there are three federal programs dedicated solely to funding abstinence-only education. The federal government pays out $176 million annually to these programs and other like them. Not only have abstinence-only programs repeatedly been proven ineffective but in some cases they actually provoke riskier, more detrimental behavior from teens.
States that promote abstinence-only education have significantly higher teen pregnancy and birth rates than states with comprehensive sexual education. A 10-year government study found that abstinence-only programs did not delay sexual initiation. When studying habits of teens that had taken a virginity pledge and those who hadn’t, researchers found that those who pledged were just as likely to have sex as those who hadn’t. In addition, the teens that had taken the virginity pledge were less likely to protect themselves with use of condoms and/or birth control.
Abstinence-only-until-marriage programs are simply not successful. Virginity pledges are one of the measurement tools of success used by the government, meaning that success rates of abstinence-only programs are highly skewed and nonfactual. Federal funding has been pouring into these arguably useless programs for decades now. The Obama Administration has improved this irresponsible spending considerably, but public money continues to fund abstinence-only teaching while limiting comprehensive sexual education, which can include teaching abstinence as well as safe sexual practices. Abstinence-only programs are ineffective and dangerous, and need to be cut altogether.
Dear United States Congress,
Abstinence-only-until-marriage education has been an expensive failure for this country. Currently there are still three federal programs dedicated solely to funding abstinence-only education. The US government pays out $176 million dollars annually to fund these ineffective programs, a number that increased especially during the Bush Administration. While money has been pouring out to support these programs, little evidence has proven their effectiveness. In fact states that promote abstinence-only programs have higher teen pregnancy, birth and STI rates than states with comprehensive sexual education.
Abstinence-only-until-marriage programs are not successful. The success rates shown by these programs and organizations are inaccurate. Much of the data is based on how many teens take a virginity pledge, yet comprehensive studies have shown the teens who do take the pledge are just as likely to have sex than teens who don’t take the pledge. Additionally, those who take the virginity pledge are less likely to use protection than those who don’t take the pledge.
Government spending towards these ineffective programs needs to stop. Abstinence-only programs inhibit the health of American teenagers and only enable them to make unhealthy and potentially dangerous personal decisions. I demand that federal funding of these programs be cut all together.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Political Loud Mouth