Sex ed, Sexuality

>Contraception and abstinence in the news

>The news today reports on a study by the Alan Guttmacher Institute that abstinence doesn’t make as much difference in the overall teen pregnancy rates in the US as increased contraceptive use.

I’m still looking at the data in the report and trying to understand their methods and statistics. (Free Abstract here).

Comparing data from the National Survey of Family Growth, 1995 and 2002, the researchers found,

Our data suggest that declining adolescent pregnancy rates in the United States between 1995 and 2002 were primarily attributable to improved contraceptive use. The decline in pregnancy risk among 18- and 19-year-olds was entirely attributable to increased contraceptive use. Decreased sexual activity was responsible for about one quarter (23%) of the decline among 15- to 17-year-olds, and increased contraceptive use was responsible for
the remainder (77%). Improved contraceptive use included increases in the use of many individual methods, increases in the use of
multiple methods, and substantial declines in nonuse.

On the other hand, some of the blogs and pro-life news sites have been talking about a new study that shows strong evidence that there is protection in abstinence based sex ed.

John Jemmott, PhD
of the University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School, reported in Toronto in August, 2006 that his team had compared abstinence-only education with

The PowerPoint slides showing efficacy of the abstinence only approach, from the presentation in Toronto are here.

And here’s a review of the discussion in the media, at the time:

A study of 662 African-American Grade 6 and 7 students from inner-city middle schools in Philadelphia found those taught an abstinence-only approach to sex were less likely to have had sexual intercourse at 24 months’ follow-up compared to those put through a “safer sex” intervention that emphasized condom use but made no mention of abstinence.

And while Bill Clinton, the former U.S. president, told delegates to the International AIDS Conference in Toronto yesterday that abstinence programs delay sexual activity but make teens less likely to use condoms when they do start having sex, the study found the opposite to be true.

“It did not reduce intentions to use condoms, it did not reduce beliefs about the efficacy of condoms, it did not decrease consistent condom use and it did not decrease condom use at last sexual [encounter],” lead author John Jemmott, of the University of Pennsylvania, said.

The youngsters in the study ranged in age from 10 to 15; half were girls. Twenty-three per cent said they had had sexual intercourse at least once before the study began.

“There aren’t any studies that show that children are less likely to use condoms as a result of an abstinence intervention. I’ve looked in the literature, there are no studies that show that,” Mr. Jemmott said in an interview.

About bnuckols

Conservative Christian Family Doctor, promoting conservative news and views. (Hot Air under the right wing!)


5 thoughts on “>Contraception and abstinence in the news

  1. >When I did sex-ed at sixth-form level, about three years ago now, we had the condom-usage demonstration – one student was asked to place a condom over a (disapointingly inaccurate, just a white pole with a rounded end) model penis. The girl placed the condom on the penis and tried to unroll it, unsuccessfully – after a few hard shoves downwards she realised it was on upside-down, fliped it over, and put it on.This simple mistake would reduce the prevention rate of the condom by potentially causing tearing and by transfering a small quantity of sperm present in the male's lubricating… im not sure what the scientific name for the stuff is, but its informally called 'pre'. Anyway, it shows that even something as simple as a condom needs some education in its use. Thats before even getting into the use of a backup.I keep seeing these surveys. They are usually next to worthless, whatever they claim to show – they cant seperate the effect of the sex-ed program from unrelated cultural change or other influences.Why is it always pro-life that supports abstinance education?

    Posted by Suricou Raven | December 2, 2006, 11:40 am
  2. >It's preseminal fluid from the Cowper's glands.Perhaps y'all need a test in England. Or perhaps it's just when kids are using them that it's difficult.Actually, SR, talk about those cultural changes: it's the pro-abortion, sex-before-marriage advocates who support teaching children to obtain and use condoms and other birth control.

    Posted by | December 3, 2006, 5:42 am
  3. >Just from the quote given from the initial comment, it looks to me like the study didn't show anything one way or the other about _teaching_ abstinence. All the quote says is that in point of fact the decline in pregnancy rates was caused by more effective contraceptive use. (How they figured this out I'd be curious to know.) While this might indirectly seem to support teaching more about contraception, it needn't do so. It isn't at all clear whether the young people in the study were taught that abstinence before marriage is a moral norm. Probably not. In fact, in all likelihood, if anyone said this to them, the message was strongly undermined from some other source. (Hint. Hint. "Comprehensive sex ed"?) All we know, if the study is correct, is that in fact they did not abstain but did use contraception more often, better, or something of that sort. Obviously, abstinence is _very_ effective at preventing pregnancy! 🙂 But maybe there is more in the portion of the study that I haven't had time to look up.

    Posted by Lydia McGrew | December 3, 2006, 5:37 pm
  4. >Testing… ive posted to this thread twice, but there seems to be some type of problem – no error is given, but nothing appears as it always has before.

    Posted by Suricou Raven | December 4, 2006, 9:40 am
  5. >We got that one!I switched from the old format to the Beta. Some of the problems may be because I'm trying to access new features and learn to post pictures. Hopefully all of the glitches will soon be worked out.Please be patient.

    Posted by | December 4, 2006, 11:44 am

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