Another rousing success for abstinence education

Think Progress reports:

The Centers for Disease Control released a new report today that found that Mississippi “now has the nation’s highest teen pregnancy rate, displacing Texas and New Mexico for that lamentable title.” The report found that in 2006, the Mississippi teen pregnancy rate was over 60 percent higher than the national average and increased 13 percent since the year before.

While the new report does not explain why the state’s teen pregnancy rate is increasing, one reason may be the poor quality of its sex ed programs. As the Sexuality Information and Education Center explains, Mississippi focuses heavily on abstinence education and teachers are prohibited from demonstrating how to use contraceptives.

A reporter for ABC News’s Jackson, MS affiliate explained, “The Mississippi Department of Human Services says abstinence is the only birth control that is 100 percent effective. And that’s the only message teens need to hear.” Unfortunately, numerous studies show that abstinence-only education is not effective.

Further, a review by the House Oversight Committee found that “80% of the abstinence-only curricula…contain false, misleading, or distorted information about reproductive health.”

Pregnant teens in Mississippi face few options. Access to facilities that provide abortions in that state is extremely limited. Indeed, because of an unusually effective anti-choice campaign in the legislature, only a single abortion clinic remains open in the state.

The report also found that the teen pregnancy rate is rising fastest in Alaska, where Gov. Sarah Palin (R) is a strong proponent of abstinence-only sex ed.

Both the abject failure and the rampant underlying dishonesty of abstinence-only pogroms are well established, but holding up to the light of day, while surely not enough to overcome endemic denial about teens’ behavior on the part of their parents, every new example can’t hurt.

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  1. #1 by Monado on January 8, 2009 - 12:48 am

    This is a fucking tragedy, literally. What was that quote?
    “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”
    Keeping youngsters in the dark used to work some of the time for some people, but that was with large helpings of chaperonage, less freedom to travel, and a much heavier social stigma. And I read a doctor’s memoir from the 30s that estimated there were five abortions for every live birth.

  2. #2 by Monado on January 8, 2009 - 12:48 am

    This is a fucking tragedy, literally. What was that quote?
    “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”
    Keeping youngsters in the dark used to work some of the time for some people, but that was with large helpings of chaperonage, less freedom to travel, and a much heavier social stigma. And I read a doctor’s memoir from the 30s that estimated there were five abortions for every live birth.

  3. #3 by Sigmund on January 8, 2009 - 12:54 am

    I disagree with the statement that abstinence is the only 100% effective way to prevent pregnancy. It is still possible for women to get pregnant even if they decide not to have sex.
    It’s called rape.
    The only 100% way to prevent unwanted pregnancy is hysterectomy for women and castration for men.
    Probably not such a good selling point, though.

  4. #4 by Lee on January 8, 2009 - 1:31 am

    Abstinence *is* 100% effective when strictly complied with. There is, unfortunately, a very high failure rate in compliance. Thus, the need to also teach other techniques.

  5. #5 by Miguel on January 8, 2009 - 3:38 am

    In other news:

    The Discovery Institute has released a press statement attacking the abstinence-only position of the Mississippi Department of Human Services, saying that “The apparent goal of the MDHS is to shield sexual abstinence from critical scrutiny and to teach it in a one-sided fashion … Students should be able to assess both the strengths and weaknesses of all methods of birth control, and abandoning such critical analysis merely to satisfy ideological demands harms students.”

    Oh sorry, was I daydreaming?

  6. #6 by Charlie on January 8, 2009 - 6:09 am

    Lee, sorry, but that’s magical unicorns coming out of your backside talk. Give them all the information they need to make an informed decision about their life. Equally, sex should be shown as something good, not demonstrated as something to be ashamed of and relegated as ‘just for reproduction’, because for humans it clearly isn’t. I feel quite sorry for the affected, considering it’s very difficult to lead a life after that.

  7. #7 by Cannonball Jones on January 8, 2009 - 9:37 am

    “teachers are prohibited from demonstrating how to use contraceptives.”
    That’s just sick. I mean seriously, that sort of thinking tantamount to child abuse and would be more at home in the darkest recesses of the third world. And as for abstinence, has no-one told these idiots that, like every other creature on the planet, we’re all about the sex? If we were to get pregnant every time we got jiggy then there’d be no space, no food, an insane rate of abortion, miscarriage, child murder and natural infant deaths, not to mention a terrifying large population of idiots…

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