Study Finds Abstinence Program Effective
Special Report - November 20, 2007
Almost two months after Virginia Governor Tim Kaine issued a budget amendment requiring his state to reject $275,000 in abstinence education funding from the federal government’s Title V Program, new research is showing the effectiveness of Virginia’s abstinence initiatives. A study, slated to appear in the January/February issue of the American Journal of Health Behavior, monitored the sexual behavior of middle school students enrolled in the Virginia Department of Health’s abstinence education program. After just one year in the program, students “had a substantially lower risk of sexual initiation than did comparison students,” the study found. In fact, students enrolled in abstinence education were 45.7 percent less likely to initiate sexual activity compared to students who did not participate in the courses. The study concluded that Virginia’s abstinence programs “achieved a significant reduction in teen sexual initiation.”
The Title V program, which was modeled after North Carolina’s abstinence until marriage education law, has recently come under attack by proponents of so-called “comprehensive” sex education in the U.S. Congress and state legislatures. The program is authorized under section 510 of Title V of the Social Security Act and allocates $50 million a year nationwide for abstinence until marriage education in public schools, including $1.24 million to North Carolina. Among other conditions, Title V requires states to teach “that abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy” and that “a mutually faithful monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the expected standard of human sexual activity.” Fourteen states, including Virginia, have opted out of the program. In late September, Congress approved a bill that extends the Title V program until December 31, 2007.
“We need to send a consistent message to students that a monogamous marriage is the only proper context for sexual activity,” said John Rustin, vice president and director of government relations for the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “This study reinforces the effectiveness of education programs that teach children the value of abstaining from sex outside of marriage.”
Copyright © 2007. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.