New Poll: Teens, Young Adults Support Abstinence, Say It’s Effective

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 23, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Poll: Teens, Young Adults Support Abstinence, Say It’s Effective Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 23, 2006

Washington, DC ( — A new poll about abstinence finds the practice has strong support from the people who matter most — teenagers and young adults. They support abstinence and say that it’s effective in reducing unplanned pregnancies and lowers AIDS rates.

A new Harris Poll reveals 56 percent of those 18 to 24 and 60 percent of people 25 to 29 think abstinence programs reduce the rates of HIV and AIDS.

Meanwhile, 49 percent of 18 to 24 year-olds and 60 percent of 25 to 29 year-olds say abstinence education programs are effective in reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies.

According to a Washington Times story, younger age categories were the most likely of six age groups to find abstinence education effective, and they should know.

"The most striking, and surely the most important differences among various demographic groups are the differences between younger and older adults," the poll indicated. "Adults under the age of 30 are more likely to believe that abstinence programs are effective, and it is of course these adults who are the main targets for the programs."

In fact the percentage support for abstinence education lowered with every increase in age category, with just 37 percent of those 65 or older supporting such programs.

The Harris Poll also found sharp partisan divisions on abstinence with Republicans more supportive and Democrats more likely to oppose such programs.

Some 50 percent of Republicans found abstinence education programs to be effective against AIDS and 46 percent said they were successful in reducing unplanned pregnancies. Among Democrats the numbers were 39 and 28 percent.

Other polls have found much stronger support for abstinence education.

An August 2005 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for The People & The Press found 76 percent of those polled favored teaching abstinence education in schools while just 20 percent opposed.

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 best for teens. Only 39.9 percent thought that abstinence and contraception should be combined in a single class.

The Harris Poll was conducted from December 8 to 14 and surveyed 1,961 adults.