Abstinence Education Targeted for a Budget Cut?

The Rev. James Dobson has issued a clarion call to this faithful that “Liberals Want Federal Abstinence Education Cut.”  Read it here.  The president has asked for $204 million for this sort of sex education.  Dodson points to a recent study by the CDC that one of every four teenage girls has an STD.

But just last April, a study conducted by the Mathematoca Policy Research organization in NJ fund that abstinence education doesn’t work.  From USA Today, 4-13-2007:

Students who participated in programs to discourage sex before marriage didn’t hold off any longer than peers who didn’t participate in such programs, finds a longterm study authorized by Congress.

Those who participated in the four “abstinence-only” program studied had sex about the same age — 14 years and nine months —as those in their communities who didn’t have any specialized abstinence education, and had similar numbers of sex partners, says the $7.7 million study conducted by Mathematica Policy Research Inc. of Princeton, N.J. for the U.S. Administration for Children and Families.

“We have a lot of information about what people know and intend. The real question is what they do,” said Sarah Brown, director of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, who served on an outside advisory panel for the evaluation process. “None of the four programs were successful in raising the age of first intercourse at all.”

The federal government spends about $176 million annually on abstinence programs. Over the past decade, it has spent about $1.5 billion on such efforts. Those who favor comprehensive sex education, which includes information about contraception, have criticized the “abstinence only until marriage” approach as ineffective.

 In fact, the study suggested that teens in abstinence education programs often engaged in riskier sex acts.

Chris Trenholm, a senior researcher at Mathematica who directed the study, says those who had abstinence education also didn’t differ in the rates of unprotected sex. Some critics have claimed that abstinence programs lead to less condom use because such programs discourage condoms and contraception in favor of abstinence.

Wonder how this news will go over with the OC conservatives.