Abstinence Education Advocates Continue Bashing Johns Hopkins Virginity Study
by Steven Ertelt
January 6, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Abstinence education advocates continue bashing a new study out of Johns Hopkins University that claims the abstinence pledges teens sign to refrain from sex until they’re married are ineffective. The study contended teens signing such pledges are likely to engage in premarital sex and more likely not to use birth control.
The JHU study’s results appeared to conflict with research showing clear results in the other direction — that teens are more likely to wait to have sex and aren’t less likely to use contraception when they do.
Dr. Nanci Coppola, the head of the abstinence group Healthy Respect, told LifeNews.com Tuesday that the study actually underlines the need for more classroom-based programs that stress abstinence until marriage.
She said the study reinforced the need for a comprehensive abstinence message, not just one that stresses a virginity pledge.
"Abstinence programs such as Healthy Respect focus on the whole student in his or her environment and seek to build the character and outlook that will help a teenager set realistic goals for life," Dr. Coppola said.
"Abstinence until marriage is part of a wider skill set that requires more than signing a one-time virginity pledge or wearing a chastity ring, though these can be important parts of the decision to remain abstinent," Coppola added.
Meanwhile, Valerie Huber, the director of the National Abstinence Education Association, says the media failed to focus on the conclusion the study came to that those who took a virginity pledge had their first sexual experience at age 21, four years later than the national average.
"This study looked only at individuals who have specific skills that are taught or reinforced in an abstinence program, so we are not at all surprised that they abstained about four years longer than their peers," she said.
"This study simply reinforces the need to continue the skill building practices found in a typical abstinence-centered class," Huber continued.
"The numerous and serious inaccuracies and deliberate mischaracterizations made by the author regarding abstinence education call into question her objectivity as a researcher and throws suspicion on the entire research she has conducted," Huber explained.
Related web sites:
Healthy Respect – https://www.healthrespect.org
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