Parents Strongly Back Abstinence Education for Teens, New Poll Shows

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 28, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Parents Strongly Back Abstinence Education for Teens, New Poll Shows

by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 28, 2004

Washington, DC ( — A poll released on Wednesday by respected polling firm Zogby International shows that parents overwhelmingly support abstinence education for teenagers.

Out of the 1,004 parents surveyed across the nation, 96 percent said abstinence is best for teens. The vast majority of American parents want their children’s sex education classes to emphasize abstinence until marriage, according to poll, which was commissioned by Focus on the Family.

"This poll illustrates that the people most concerned about the health and emotional well-being of America’s children — their moms and dads — recognize that abstinence is the only surefire way to protect their kids," said Linda Klepacki of Focus on the Family. "As hard as the comprehensive sex-education lobby has tried to sell its ‘safe-sex’ message, it’s clear parents aren’t buying it."

The survey also found that parents strongly oppose the values and messages of comprehensive sex education, a training model that assumes teens will become sexually active and, therefore, must be given easy access to condoms.

A significant majority of those surveyed believe that teens’ sexual behavior is likely to lead to psychological, emotional and physical problems.

The groups announced the polling results today at a Washington news conference, attended by Dr. Wade Horn, assistant secretary for children and families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"It is gratifying to learn that parents agree with the President that the primary message we should give our children when it comes to sexual behavior is abstinence until marriage," Dr. Horn said.

Some of the polls highlights included:

* 68 percent of parents want schools to teach teens that individuals who remain abstinent until marriage have the best chances of marital stability and happiness.

* 91 percent said that the best choice is for sexual activity to be linked to love, intimacy, and commitment — the qualities that are most likely to occur in a faithful marriage.

* Only 39.9 percent thought that abstinence and contraception should be combined in a single class. But even on that matter, only 2 percent thought that sex education should focus on teaching teens how to use condoms.

The results led those participating in the news conference to suggest that government funding should be reevaluated. Funding for abstinence has significantly increased during the Bush administration, but Congress still spends $4.50 was on comprehensive sex education for every $1 spent on abstinence education, according to a study by the Heritage Foundation.

Genevieve Wood, of the Family Research Council, concluded, "Parents are waking up to the fact that schools aren’t teaching their children the values of love, commitment and basic life choices that lead to building a healthy marriage."

Pro-life Sen. Sam Brownback (R) of Kansas and Concerned Women for America also participated in the news conference.

Related web sites:
Results and analysis of Zogby poll –