by Steven Ertelt
December 2, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Abortion advocates are playing up a report released by a pro-abortion congressman claiming abstinence education programs are teaching incorrect information to millions of teenage students.
California Congressman Henry Waxman, a Democrat, released the report Wednesday contending that the abstinence education plans funded by the Bush administration teach "false and misleading information."
Planned Parenthood president Gloria Feldt praised Waxman’s report saying it "proves what other research has already revealed — that abstinence-only programs are irresponsible, ineffective, and harmful to young people."
Feldt said the "vast majority of American parents want their children to have comprehensive and responsible sex education."
Louise Melling of the ACLU added that "[s]tudies show that the overwhelming majority of parents want their children to get all the information they need to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including information about contraception, how to use condoms properly, and about abortion."
However, a January 2004 Zogby International poll shows parents overwhelmingly support abstinence education for teenagers.
Out of the 1,004 parents surveyed across the nation, 96 percent said abstinence is the best message 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.
Only 39.9 percent thought that abstinence and contraception should be combined in a single class.
Still, "Abstinence-only sex education has no positive effect on the behavior of teens," Feldt said.
Yet, a new study by the Heritage Foundation tracked teenagers over four years and compared teens who took an abstinence pledge with those who didn’t.
The study found, after three separate periods of analysis spaced years apart, that pledgees were one-third less likely than non-pledgees to have sex before the age of 18.
The Heritage study also revealed that teens who kept their pledge to abstain from sexual relations were 50% less likely to have out-of-wedlock births than non-pledgees and were less likely to have a sexually transmitted disease.
Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union said the report shows that taxpayer funding for abstinence education programs should be ended.
"For years, lawmakers have increased spending on abstinence-only programs without clear evidence that they are effective at preventing unplanned pregnancies or sexually transmitted infections, including HIV," the ACLU’s Laura Murphy said.
"Waxman’s report demonstrates that public money is being misspent at the expense of our children’s health," Murphy added.
The pro-abortion legal group has long opposed abstinence education and has filed lawsuits to prevent religious groups from obtaining public funds for use in abstinence programs.