Abstinence - Archive

May 2007: Abstinence

Study of Illegitimate Births

Abstinence Education Has Not Failed 

Statement Regarding Santelli Attack on Abstinence-Only Curriculum

Parents Favor Abstinence Education: Survey cuts through media misinformation  

Parents Throwing Their 'Wait' Behind Abstinence  

Parents Prefer Abstinence Education 

Study: Lesbians More than Twice as Likely to be Overweight and Obese…

STUDY OF ILLEGITIMATE BIRTHS Among Immigrants Shows Overall Rate Now Nearly the Same as Natives, Hispanic Rate Higher. President Bush and others argue that immigrants have a stronger commitment to traditional family values than do native-born Americans.

However, a new analysis of birth records by the Center for Immigration Studies shows that about one-third of births to both immigrants and natives are now to unmarried parents. Illegitimate children are at higher risk for social problems, and the risk may be even greater for those with immigrant parents because they need strong families to adjust to life in America.

The full report, entitled 'Illegitimate Nation: An Examination of Out-of-Wedlock Births Among Immigrants and Natives,' is available at http://www.cis.org/articles/2007/back507.html.

Among the report’s findings:
*Births to unmarried women have increased dramatically. >From 13 percent in 1980 for immigrant mothers (legal and illegal) to 32 percent in 2003, and from 19 to 35 percent for native-born mothers.
* The rate for immigrants is higher than for natives in Arizona, New Jersey, New York, and North Carolina.
* The modest nationwide difference disappears when teenagers, who have the highest illegitimacy rates, are excluded. There are relatively few immigrant teenagers because immigrants tend to arrive older. Without teenagers, the rate is about 30 percent for both immigrants and natives.
* Hispanic immigrants have seen the largest increase in illegitimacy – from 19 percent in 1980 to 42 percent in 2003. This matters because 59 percent of all births to immigrants are to Hispanics.
* In addition to the 42 percent rate for Hispanic immigrants, 39 percent of births among black immigrants are to unmarried women, 11 percent among Asian/Pacific Islander immigrants, and 12 percent among white immigrants.
* There is no indication of improvement over the generations. The illegitimacy rate among the native-born is 50 percent for Hispanics; 30 percent for Asian/Pacific Islanders, and 24 percent for whites.
* 2003 is the first time that the absolute number of illegitimate births to Hispanic women (immigrant and native) outnumbered illegitimate births to black women (immigrant and native).
* Out-of-wedlock births are highest for those with the least education; among immigrant mothers who lack a high school diploma, 45 percent of births are illegitimate.
* The country is currently debating whether to legalize illegal aliens or, alternatively, to enforce the law and cause them to return home. Since 60 percent of illegals lack a high school diploma and 80 percent are Hispanic, legalization would likely contribute to the illegitimacy problem by enabling illegal aliens to remain in the United States.
“Some want to see immigrants as paragons of virtue, others view them as morally deficient in some way. When it comes to family values, neither view is correct,” said Steven Camarota, the report’s author and the Center’s Director of Research. “Immigrants are subject to the same social forces as everyone else. Thus, the idea that immigration will reinvigorate traditional family values is unrealistic.”
Other findings:
*The children of unmarried immigrants often have to overcome their parents’ very low levels of education as well. In 2003, 56 percent of illegitimate births to immigrants were to a mother who also lacked a high school diploma; for natives the rate was 33 percent. For Hispanic immigrants specifically, the rate was 65 percent.
* There is no evidence that illegitimacy is related to legal status. It is common in many sending countries, regardless of how their immigrants arrived here. According to the UN, 38 percent of births are illegitimate in both Mexico and Canada, 73 percent in El Salvador, and 86 percent in Jamaica.
* The high rate for Hispanic immigrants also seems unrelated to legal status because only one-fifth of non-Mexican Hispanic immigrants are illegal aliens, yet their illegitimacy rate is 45 percent. This compares to 41 percent for Mexican immigrants, fully half of whom are illegal.
* The high levels of out-of-wedlock births among native-born Hispanics also suggests that cultural factors play a significant role in explaining high illegitimacy among that group.
* Another reason to think illegitimacy is more related to cultural factors than legal status is that college-educated Hispanic immigrants, only a small share of whom are illegal, still have triple the rate of illegitimacy as college-educated natives.
* Birth records used in this study count all births, unlike Census Bureau surveys that are more likely to miss poor and less-educated immigrants, who have the highest illegitimacy. Thus Census Bureau data tends to understate family problems among immigrants, and does not specifically report illegitimacy.
* Looking at family structure with Census Bureau data shows that 75 percent of the U.S.-born children of immigrants live in a household headed by a married person, compared to 70 percent for natives. The rate is 70 percent for Hispanic immigrants and 79 percent for white natives.
* Among teenagers, who are at the greatest risk for getting into trouble, there is less difference – 70 percent of U.S.-born teenagers with immigrants parents live in a married household, compared to 68 percent for those with native parents.
* Like the birth records, the Census Bureau data show that neither immigrants nor natives can be said to be exemplary when it comes to marriage and children.
[Steven Camarota, (202) 466 8185,
[email protected] Center for Immigration Studies (202) 466-8185; WASHINGTON (April 24, 2007]

 

Abstinence Education Has Not Failed.  This is what the mainstream media and opponents of abstinence-centered education would like you to believe in the wake of the most recent study. Headlines around the country read:
Abstinence classes have little effect, study finds – Seattle Times, 4/14
Abstinence programs fall short, study says – Minneapolis Star Tribune, 4/14
Study: Sex abstinence classes failed – Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/14
Study: Abstinence Classes Don't Stop Sex – ABC News, 4/14
Study Casts Doubt on Abstinence-Only Programs – Washington Post, 4/14
William Smith, vice president for public policy at the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), a leading proponent of “safe-sex” education [anti-abstinence], said “This report should serve as the final verdict on the failure of the abstinence-only industry in this country, It shows, once again, that these programs fail miserably in actually helping young people behave more responsibly when it comes to their sexuality.”

The report, which was released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and conducted by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. appears, on the surface, to live up to the headlines.
The study sought to determine the impact of abstinence education programs. Key findings include:

•Youth in the program group (abstinence classes) were no more likely than control group youth to have abstained from sex and, among those who reported having had sex; they had similar numbers of sexual partners and had initiated sex at the same mean age.
 
However, the report did go on to say that “Contrary to concerns raised by some critics of the Title V, Section 510 abstinence funding, program group youth were no more likely to have engaged in unprotected sex than control group youth.” Another key finding was:
 
•Program and control group youth did not differ in their rates of unprotected sex, either at first intercourse or over the last 12 months.
 
But again, the report reveals that students subjected to abstinence education also did not have higher rates of unprotected sex – a charge often leveled by “safe-sex” education advocates. Other key findings include:
 
•For both the program and control group youth, the reported mean age at first intercourse was identical, 14.9 years.
 
•Program and control group youth also did not differ in the number of partners with whom they had sex.
 
This all sounds rather damning to abstinence education. However, here are the problems with concluding that “abstinence education has failed.”
 
First, this study only examined 4 programs of more than 900 currently in place. Furthermore, of the four programs observed in the study; one was voluntary and took place after school. Also, the Mathematica study targeted children who were in abstinence programs from ages 9-11 and those children 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 most likely to engage in sexual activity.
 
Lastly, the study authors themselves stated that “Some policymakers and health educators have questioned whether the Title V, Section 510 program’s focus on abstinence elevates these STD risks. Findings from this study suggest that this is not the case, as program group youth are no more likely to engage in unprotected sex than their control group counterparts.”
 
The bottom line: this study hardly serves to condemn abstinence education and support a return to “comprehensive” sex education in the public schools. In fact, a recent HHS-sponsored conference in Baltimore unveiled evidence from more than two dozen other studies that abstinence programs are producing positive outcomes for youth.
 
There are now 15 evaluations documenting the effectiveness of abstinence education. (Of course, the media never reports on these.)
 
Even the authors of the Mathematica study acknowledge that “Nationally, rates of teen sexual activity have declined over the past 15 years,” since the advent of abstinence education beginning in the early 1990s.
 
Studies through the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show the rate of teen pregnancy has dropped approximately 35% from 1990 to 2002 with subsequent studies demonstrating the decline of teen pregnancy has only accelerated since 2002.
 
The Journal of Adolescent and Family Health published a study that concluded 66% of the decrease in teen pregnancy was due to teens choosing abstinence. The CDC commissioned a study which estimated 53% of the drop in teen pregnancy was due to teens choosing abstinence.
 
A significant finding of the Mathematica study, which has been ignored, is “that friends support for abstinence is a significant predictor of future sexual abstinence.” Adding that, “promoting support for abstinence among peer networks should be an important feature of future abstinence programs. While friends support for abstinence may have protective benefits, maintaining this support appears difficult for most youth as they move through adolescence.
 
At the time when most Title V, Section 510 abstinence education programs are completed and youth enter their adolescent years, data from the study find that support for abstinence among friends drops dramatically.”
 
In essence, the study’s authors confirm the positive impact of abstinence education and argue for the expansion of abstinence education into the High School years since it is only the “values” of abstinence education that have any potential for strengthening this social support.
 
Let me conclude by showing you exactly what it is that "comprehensive" sex education advocates oppose.

The following are the federal government guidelines for abstinence education under Title V, section 510 programs:

A Have as its exclusive purpose teaching the social, psychological, and health gains to be realized by abstaining from sexual activity
 
B Teach abstinence from sexual activity outside marriage as the expected standard for all school-age children
 
C Teach that abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other associated health problems
 
D Teach that a mutually faithful, monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the expected standard of sexual activity
 
E Teach that sexual activity outside the context of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects
 
F
Teach that bearing children out of wedlock is likely to have harmful consequences for the child, the child’s parents, and society
 
G Tea

ch young people how to reject sexual advances and how alcohol and drug use increases vulnerability to sexual advances
 
H Teach the importance of attaining self-sufficiency before engaging in sexual activity
 
Comprehensive sex education advocates oppose the teaching of any “values” related to sexual activity since they regard sex as a “values-neutral” act in which the government has no interest.
 
As I have stated before, given the procreative potential inherent to sex, society has a compelling interest in the manner and place in which children come into being, therefore the government plays a valid role in securing this interest.
 
So, given the values espoused under abstinence education versus “no values” education offered within a cultural context that only supports the latter – which approach should we employ if the stated goal of both sides is to “reduce adolescent sexual activity and its consequences?”
[24Apr07, Michael Craven, LifeNews.com]   

 

Statement Regarding Santelli Attack on Curriculum
April 27, 2007
WARNING: A war between medical references and medical opinions has turned to a campaign against materials used to reach young teens with a message of "embracing good health."

The attacks will continue until everyone marches to the beat of their drum, which leaves no freedom to tell the story in a way that 12-14 year olds will understand. Who are they? They are promoters of risky behaviors who mistakenly think promising contraceptive and birth control services will “protect” teens from devastating consequences.

They are politically motivated considering the timing. The Santelli's report against abstinence education is more than a year old and has been refuted as being extremely flawed yet it’s repeated, why? Might it be because his employer (Guttmacher) and contraceptive education collaborators want abstinence funding to be killed by Congress?

Teen-Aid will seek freedom from medical error. All the medical materials are medically referenced and written by a medical doctor. Teen-Aid materials will seek to free teens from all the negative consequences of premarital sexual activity.

Teen-Aid is always in process of updating information and will fix anything truly in error however; these criticisms are based on misinformation because the conclusions are incorrect. Please read the Santelli report by the Medical Institute http://www.medinstitute.org/includes/downloads/antellirevised.pdf

One of Santelli’s complaints is that Teen-Aid makes AIDS sound like it causes death.  He says, That’s not so because in the US people live a long time after contracting HIV so Teen-Aid is misrepresenting the data. If we can’t say HIV kills, how dare we say smoking or HPV or obesity kills?

Teen-Aid issues a challenge for the same level of dissection of contraceptive/comprehensive programs including program effectiveness in reducing STI’s, sexual activity, the use of medical referencing, parental and community involvement and attention to the long and short term emotional, social and financial consequences to children impacted by their lessons. [LeAnna Benn, www.teen-aid.org, 27Apr07]

 

ACLU, Advocates for Youth, and SIECUS Say Government Funded
       Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Materials Violate Federal Law

Groups Call on Government to Remedy Violations and Ensure Materials Contain
         Medically Accurate Information about Condom Effectiveness
April 26, 2007
Contact: Lorraine Kenny, ACLU, (212) 549-2634;
Marcela Howell, Advocates for Youth, (202) 419-3420 ext. 42;
Max Ciardullo, SIECUS, (212) 819-9770 ext. 325.

WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union, Advocates for Youth, and Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) today sent a letter and supporting materials to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) identifying several federally funded
abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that include medically inaccurate
information in violation of federal law.  The groups called on HHS to
immediately remedy the violations or face a legal challenge from the ACLU.

“HHS cannot justify giving teens incomplete and misleading information
about how to protect themselves against unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection, including HIV,” said John Santelli, MD, MPH, Chair of the Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health at Columbia University and the author of a declaration enumerating the medical inaccuracies in the federal programs, which accompanies today’s letter. “The evidence is clear: when used properly condoms are highly effective.
This is vital information that should be part of all sexuality education
programs.”

Today’s letter to HHS said three federally funded abstinence-only-until-marriage curricula, Me, My World, My Future; Sexuality, Commitment & Family; and Why kNOw, along with HHS’s own 4parents.gov Web site and pamphlet, Parents, Speak Up!, all violate a federal law requiring certain educational materials to contain medically accurate information about condom effectiveness.  In addition to the letter, the groups submitted supporting materials, including Santelli’s declaration <<
http://www.aclu.org/reproductiverights/sexed/29486lgl20070426.html>>.

“This is not the first time HHS has been asked to address serious problems
in federally funded abstinence-only-until-marriage programs,” said Julie
Sternberg, Senior Staff Attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project and author of today’s letter.  “The federal government’s insistence on putting ideology before teenagers’ health has to stop.”

Today’s letter notes that in October 2006, the Government Accountability
Office informed HHS that its federally funded programs are bound by the
Public Health Service Act, which requires medically accurate information
about condom effectiveness in certain educational materials.  Because HHS failed to adequately respond to the GAO’s concerns, its federally funded programs continue to feature inaccurate
and misleading information, the groups said.  The letter discusses several other instances in which problems with federal abstinence-only programs have been brought to HHS’s attention to little or no avail.

“The tragedy is not simply the waste of taxpayer dollars, it is the damage
done to the young people who have been on the receiving end of distorted, inaccurate information about condoms and birth control,” said James Wagoner, President of Advocates for Youth. “The government has been promoting ignorance in the era of AIDS, and that’s not just bad public health policy, that’s bad ethics.”

Today’s action comes after the release earlier this month of a federally
commissioned study <<
http://www.aclu.org/reproductiverights/sexed/29358prs20070413.html>>
showing that, notwithstanding the $176 million federal funds currently
poured into them annually, abstinence-only-until-marriage programs don’t
work.  The study looked at several federally funded programs and found that
teens who participated in them were just as likely to have sex as teens who
did not participate.

“The issue at hand here is quite simple: government funds should not be
used to support deliberate deception,” said William Smith, Vice President
for Public Policy of SIECUS.  “If HHS refuses to provide accountability and
continues to violate basic values, we’ll force them to do right by the
American people.”

Currently, no federal funds are dedicated to supporting sexuality education
programs that both teach abstinence and include complete and medically
accurate information about how to use contraceptives effectively, despite
evidence that these programs can delay sexual activity and increase
contraceptive use among teens.
Today’s letter is available at: <<
http://www.aclu.org/reproductiverights/sexed/29485lgl20070426.html>>
Today’s declaration is available at: <<
http://www.aclu.org/reproductiverights/sexed/29486lgl20070426.html>>

 

 

PARENTS FAVOR ABSTINENCE EDUCATION. Parents favor abstinence education over comprehensive sex ed by a 2-to-1 margin, according to a new Zogby poll. The survey, commissioned by the National Abstinence Education Association (NAEA), reveals attitudes are shifting:  Nearly 80 percent of parents said sex-ed classes should emphasize abstinence rather than condom use. Ninety-three percent (93%) want their kids to know condoms aren’t foolproof. Eighty-three percent (83%) want their children to wait until marriage to have sex.

Valerie Huber, executive director of NAEA, said parents viewed examples of abstinence curricula before arriving at that conclusion. "There’s so much misinformation out there about what abstinence education is," she said. "We were convinced that once parents understood the real content of abstinence education, they would overwhelmingly support abstinence.”

If Congress doesn’t take action, federal funding for abstinence-based programs will expire in June. But 60 percent of parents surveyed said they wanted more dollars going to the "wait till marriage" message.   Linda Klepacki, analyst for sexual health for Focus on the Family Action, said misinformation in the media often gives parents and lawmakers a false impression of abstinence education. "Parents are starting to see through the lies," she said. [4May2007, http://www.citizenlink.org/CLNews/A000004549.cfm]

 

PARENTS THROWING THEIR 'WAIT' BEHIND ABSTINENCE. While six states have announced their intent to refuse federal funding for abstinence-only education, a new Zogby poll points to just how out of touch those state leaders are with the people they serve. Despite leftwing pressure to abandon abstinence-only education, a survey of over 1,000 parents found overwhelming support for the programs. When the differences between comprehensive and abstinence education were explained, moms and dads supported abstinence by a two-to-one margin. Not only do 83% of parents want their children to save sex until marriage, but a majority of families believe that programs should reinforce the abstinence message when broaching sex ed. Not surprisingly, two of three parents think the potency of the "waiting to have sex" message is lost when programs demonstrate contraceptive use. As FRC prepares to meet with Capitol Hill members and staff on May 22 for Abstinence Day, this poll is yet another reason why Congress should be persuaded to reauthorize funding for Title V abstinence education this June. Already, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and others have openly attacked abstinence programs and made clear their intentions of redirecting that money to groups like Planned Parenthood. Their push for birth control over self-control will be mightily challenged by FRC's vice president for government affairs, Tom McClusky, who was just named by The Hill newspaper as one of "The Greatest in Helping the Grassroots Grow." As Tom says, his voice would carry very little weight on the Hill without yours. Urge your congressmen to uphold the wishes of parents across America who believe in abstinence education as the way to promote healthy and happy futures for kids. [7May2007, Family Research Council]

 

PARENTS PREFER ABSTINENCE EDUCATION. Zogby International released the findings of a survey last week which show that informed parents greatly prefer abstinence education to “comprehensive” sex education. Not only did thorough information regarding the content of the programs result in a significant increase in parents’ favor of abstinence education, but also a drastic decrease in their confidence in “comprehensive” sex education.

“This completely flies in the face of what our opponents have been saying,” said Leslee Unruh, President of the National Abstinence Clearinghouse. “They claim that we are trying to force an ideology contrary to what parents want. It’s clear that we are the ones who care not only about young people, but about the interests of their parents as well.”

At least 8 out of 10 parents polled preferred abstinence education&rsquo

;s overall approach to teaching sex. They were unsatisfied with the cursory coverage abstinence received from “comprehensive” sex education programs, and were more comfortable with programs explaining the dangers of STDs and other health risks.

“The poll is simply one more piece of evidence,” said Unruh. “We’ve known this all along. Our hope is that people will start listening.” The poll was commissioned by the National Abstinence Education Association. [May 8, 2007 Press Release, DC, Abstinence Clearinghouse, 605.335.3643]

 

Study: Lesbians More than Twice as Likely to be Overweight and Obese. A study to be published in the June issue of the American Journal of Public Health has found that "lesbians have more than twice the odds of overweight (odds ratio [OR]=2.69; 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.40, 5.18) and obesity (OR=2.47; 95% CI=1.19, 5.09) as heterosexual women."

Researchers compared population estimates of overweight and obesity across sexual orientation groups using data from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth with a study sample of almost 6,000 women.

Another study in the same edition of the journal, found that homosexual, bisexual and "homosexually experienced heterosexual men" (men who for the most part have sex with women but have experimented with sex with men) have a far higher prevalence of HIV infection. Prevalent HIV infection was reported by nearly 18% of men in those categories.

The study, which used data from the California Quality of Life Survey (N=2272 adults), also found that homosexual men and bisexual and homosexually experienced heterosexual individuals had higher levels of psychological distress compared with exclusively heterosexual individuals.

The studies provide further evidence of the dangers involved with the homosexual lifestyle. LifeSiteNews.com reported yesterday that researchers are alarmed about growing rates of syphilis among homosexual and bisexual men despite the fact that the syphilis rate is dropping in the general population.

Other studies have found that in addition to eating disorders, homosexuals experience increased incidences of sexually transmitted diseases, cancer, psychological problems and addiction problems.

See an abstract of the obesity study here:
http://www.ajph.org/cgi/content/abstract/AJPH.2006.088419v1

See an abstract of the study on physical health complaints:
http://www.ajph.org/cgi/content/abstract/AJPH.2006.087254v1
Related: Syphilis Rate Rises in US Homosexual and Bisexual Men but Declines in General Population — http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2007/apr/07042604.html
[27April2007, By John-Henry Westen, LifeSiteNews.com]