Abstinence Advocates Meet to Re-Energize After Election of Abortion Advocates
by Steven Ertelt
February 13, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Leading abstinence educators associated with the National Abstinence Education Association met in the nation’s capital last week to re-energize after the election of abortion advocates. With President Barack Obama in the White House and a pro-abortion Congress, federal funding for abstinence will likely be cut.
The goal of the meeting was to assess progress, evaluate effectiveness and chart a course forward.
Nanci Coppola, director of the New York-based Healthy Respect program, took part in the meeting as a newly appointed member of the NAEA Advisory Board.
"These are significant times for abstinence until marriage programs as we face a new administration and a Congress that do not clearly see the benefits of our programs for the health and future of our children," Coppola told Lifenews.com. "Yet we must adapt to the changing atmosphere and show the positive results we have achieved with very limited government funding."
"We need to get this message out before lawmakers make their decisions, regarding abstinence education, based on biased information," Coppola added.
Abstinence educators from across the nation met to renew their dedication to abstinence education and learn new skills in providing a successful program.
At the meeting, Valerie Huber, Director of the NAEA, presented the challenges faced by abstinence education.
Huber said her group will continue to present the positive results of abstinence education to lawmakers and educators and counter the prevalent media bias against abstinence by disseminating the facts based on peer-reviewed studies.
She also said that parents need to express their concerns to educators and lawmakers over the lack of effectiveness of most sex ed programs and their preference for abstinence education.
Dr. Stan Weed, Director of the Institute for Research and Evaluation, debunked the media myth of the relative success of condom-based sex ed when compared to abstinence education.
Dr. Weed presented his findings that compare abstinence education to the more widespread comprehensive sex education that stresses condom and contraceptive use.
He pointed out that there is a common misconception among lawmakers and educators that comprehensive sex ed achieves its purpose while abstinence education does not.
Yet, he said, scientific evaluation of studies shows that this is far from true.
Comprehensive sex ed, in fact, fails to achieve the very low goals that advocates set for it – yet the media very rarely looks into or reports the facts. On the other hand, negative media reports on abstinence education very quickly make national news, he explained.
Weed said a careful evaluation of 112 peer-reviewed studies on comprehensive sex ed covering 20 years showed that no school or curriculum-based comprehensive sex ed program showed an increase in the number of teens who used condoms consistently – that is, with every sexual encounter – over a one-year period.
The same study showed that no comprehensive program showed a decrease in teen pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases over any period of time.
Regarding abstinence education programs, Weed said the data is relatively new, but pointed to a couple of peer-reviewed studies indicating that teens who receive abstinence education were half as likely to have engaged in sex one year later.
The common media-hyped claim that abstinence education programs do not work is false, he explained. The problem is that any evidence that even a small percentage of teens who take abstinence education later engage in premarital sex is reported as an absolute failure.
Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, a consistent champion of abstinence education in Congress, spoke as well.
Related web sites:
Healthy Respect – https://healthrespect.org
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