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Abstaining from Common Sense

Mid-Year Items:

Yet Again, Abstinence Is Proven Effective

2005 YRBS Data Released

The Good News About Abstinence Education

Change in Men's Behavior Seen in AIDS Fight

More Good News About Changing Male Behavior – 23% Drop

Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) has worked with colleagues on prevention programs to reduce sexually transmitted diseases, including abstinence-until-marriage programs.

In opposition, the liberal Californian, and ranking Democrat on the Government Reform Committee, Rep. Henry Waxman, has worked to undermine abstinence-until-marriage programs and defends RU486 despite serious health risks to women.

You'll recall his "Waxman Report," which falsely claimed that condom use is 97 percent effective, and which attacked abstinence programs for correctly teaching that condoms are not risk-free in preventing the spread of many STDs, especially the Human Papillomavirus.

Thankfully, Rep. Souder's subcommittee has just released two very helpful reports. One rebuts the Waxman report on abstinence-until-marriage programs. The other report details serious concerns over FDA's handling of RU486, which has killed 7 American women [and 7 European/Cuban women] and caused serious side-effects in thousands more.

Rep. Souder is taking on both the abortion industry and the dangerous advocacy of "comprehensive sex-ed" programs. If Congress changes hands, Rep. Waxman will become Chairman of the Government Reform Committee, where he will use his increased power to further undermine abstinence programs and women's health. Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) is a long-time defender of the family and women's health. As Chairman of the Government Reform Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources, he has used his position to investigate the FDA's abysmal response to women's deaths as a result of RU846.
Related: Abstinence and Its Critics (59 page report)
Why Wait: The Benefits of Abstinence Until Marriage
[FRC, 30Oct06]


Yet Again, Abstinence Is Proven Effective. The Centers for Disease Control has released a new study which indicates that 53 percent of the overall decline in teen pregnancy between 1991 and 2001 is due to abstinence programs and 47 percent to improved contraceptive use. Given the fact that contraceptive sex-ed programs receive about three times as much funding as abstinence programs, the findings of this study reveal that abstinence programs are far more effective than contraceptive sex-ed programs. To get the same decrease in teen pregnancy, the government has to spend three times as much on a contraceptive program as it does on abstinence programs. In addition to being cost-effective, abstinence programs also prepare young men and women for healthy relationships as married adults while eliminating the risk of sexually transmitted diseases at the same time. Abstinence is the true comprehensive sex-ed program. CDC report:
Abstinence Until Marriage: The Best Message for Teens


2005 YRBS DATA RELEASED: Study shows more teens abstinent.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its 2005 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) last week showing a continuing trend by young people of refraining from sexual intercourse.

Abstinent teens were up from 45.9 percent in 1991 to 53.2 percent in 2005.

The percentage of males who are sexually active has hit a low for this data set47.9 percent.

The percent of teens sexually active for the first time before the age of 13 has dropped from 10.2 percent in 1991 to a low of 6.2 percent in 2005.

The percentage of students who had intercourse with four or more people during their life declined slightly, with the largest decrease realized in the males, who dropped from 17.5 percent in 2003 to 16.5 percent in 2005.

Two thirds of all students 15-19 are currently abstinent; this is an improvement over 62.1 percent in 1995 and 65.7 percent in 2003. Improvements were also seen in the percentage of teens who drank alcohol or used drugs before their last sexual intercourse.
(Youth Online: Comprehensive Results for sexual behavior, United States,, 6/13/06, posted 14June06
“Poll finds 'encouraging' trends in teen health behavior,” Washington Times, 06-09-06,

THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT ABSTINENCE EDUCATION. A recent study announces that "Pregnancy Among Sexually Experienced Teens Remains High." We needed experts for this?

In the following editorial, two federal abstinence promoters point out that when sexual activity decreases, so does pregnancy:

“…The good news about abstinence is that more and more teens are adopting it as their personal standard. In fact, according to the CDC, the percentage of teens who report that they have had sex has decreased from 54 percent in the early 1990s, to 46 percent today.

"Just a few short years ago, a majority of teens did not practice abstinence. Now, a majority of teens are abstinent. It just so happens that these trends coincide with increased funding for abstinence education from Washington. Coincidence? We think not.

"The campaign report shows us that the trend for more and more youth to choose abstinence is important to curtailing teen pregnancy. That is why the Bush administration has proposed historic increases in abstinence education. Indeed, funding for the Community Based Abstinence Program has increased five-fold in the past five years. 

"The good news is that these investments seem to be paying off. Last year, HHS released the interim results of the first long-term, longitudinal study of the effectiveness of federally funded abstinence education.

"Teens who participated in these programs showed an increased awareness of the risks associated with teen sexual behavior, and an increased acceptance of delaying sexual behavior. Of course, more work needs to be done, but these results are promising.”
Wade F. Horn, Assistant Secretary for Children and Families, and Jeffrey S. Trimbath Director of Abstinence Education at the Administration for Children and Families, HHS.
[“The case for teen abstinence education,” Whittier Daily News, 06-13-06,; Abstinence Education E-Mail Update, 6/14/06]

CHANGE IN MEN'S BEHAVIOR SEEN IN FIGHT AGAINST AIDS. AIDS experts attending President Bush’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief's annual meeting in Durban, South Africa this week were surprised to learn of the success of some African programs which target men’s behavior in an attempt to stop the spread of AIDS.

One researcher reported that “in Zambia, a six-year effort to educate long-distance truck drivers about the dangers of risky sex found a startling increase in the numbers of drivers who said they were faithful to their partners. In 2000, a study of 568 drivers found that 0.3 percent said they were faithful. Earlier this year, a study of 1,002 drivers at the same sites found that 63.8 percent reported being faithful to their wives or girlfriends.”
[“Change in men's behavior seen in fight against AIDS,” The Boston Globe, 06-13-06,; Abstinence Education E-Mail Update, 6/14/06]

MORE GOOD NEWS ABOUT CHANGING MALE BEHAVIOR. A recently-released research brief, “Trends and Recent Estimates: Sexual Activity Among U.S. Teens,” reveals an encouraging 23% drop in sexual intercourse among males aged 15-19.

While this is certainly a positive development, and, according to Dr. Janet Shaw Crouse, “should silence those critics who have been denying the positive trends in teen abstinence and questioning the effectiveness of abstinence programs,” it does not include those teens who have engaged in oral sex.

The study warns that many do not consider oral sex to be sex and are at risk for transmission of STDs. “Teens who engage in promiscuous sexual relations are at a greater risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies,” said Dr. Crouse.

“We must keep sending the simple message: what works in delaying teen sexual activity and preventing promiscuity is parental involvement, good friends, strong faith, and participation in church activities.”

The new study released by the National Center for Health Statistics reveals that the percentage of teenagers having sex is on the decline across all age groups. The data suggests abstinence education campaigns are having a positive effect in lowering the rates, despite criticism from abortion advocates.

The NCHS stats show the decline is most noticeable among male teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19, as 23 percent fewer teen guys that age had sexual relations.

The new data covers the period between 1988 and 2002 and is drawn from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth the NCHS conducted.

Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, of Concerned Women for America, applauded the new statistics showing the teen sex rate decline. “This official data should silence those critics who have been denying the positive trends in teen abstinence and questioning the effectiveness of abstinence programs," she said.

The NCHS reported the latest teen sex rates in the June issue of Child Trends’ “Research Brief." The new figures show that teen pregnancy rates have been on the decline, but that the decline has been slowing in recent years.

The decline includes all racial and/or ethnic groups, older and younger teenagers, and teenagers in every state.

The research indicates a slowing of the decline of U.S. teen birth rates, which has resulted in an increase in the total number of births to teenagers.

The slowing of the decline of birth rates could be contributed in part by more pregnancy centers reaching more teenagers who become pregnant and presenting them with abortion alternatives and encouraging to keep their baby or pursue adoption rather than have an abortion.

The NCHS study also found that adolescents who delay their first sexual experience are less likely to regret the timing of their first sexual experience, have fewer sexual partners and are less likely to be coerced into having sex.

“Teens who engage in promiscuous sexual relations are at a greater risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies," Dr. Crouse said. "We must keep sending the simple message: what works in delaying teen sexual activity and preventing promiscuity is parental involvement, good friends, strong faith, and participation in church activities," Crouse concluded. Related web sites:
Concerned Women for America – [“Study: Sex Among Males 15-19 Down 23%,”, 06-09-06,; New Study Shows Teen Sex Rates Declining, Teen Birth Rate Decline Slows, DC,; Abstinence Education E-Mail Update, 6/14/06]