Congressional Research Service (CRS) published a report on Oct. 4, 2004 for Congress titled "Reducing Teen Pregnancy: Adolescent Family Life and Abstinence Education Programs," in which it defined "abstinence education":
ensure that the abstinence-only message is not diluted, the law (P.L.
104-193, Section 510 of the Social Security Act) stipulated that the
term 'abstinence education' means an educational or motivational
program that - (1) has as its exclusive purpose, teaching the social, psychological, and health gains of abstaining from sexual activity; (2) teaches abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage as the expected standard for all school-age children; (3) teaches that abstinence is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, STDs, and associated health problems; (4) teaches that a mutually faithful monogamous relationship within marriage is the expected standard of human sexual activity; (5) teaches that sexual activity outside of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects; (6)
teaches that bearing children out-of-wedlock is likely to have harmful
consequences for the child, the child's parents, and society; (7)
teaches young people how to reject sexual advances and how alcohol and
drug use increases vulnerability to sexual advances; and (8) teaches the importance of attaining self-sufficiency before engaging in sex."
Kate Hendricks, MD, MPH&TM, Vice President for Science at the Medical Institute for Sexual Health, and Patricia Thickstun, PhD, former Director of Demonstration Projects at the Medical Institute for Sexual Health, et. al, stated on May 5, 2006 in a technical paper titled "The Attack on Abstinence Education: Fact or Fallacy?" published by their organization:
"Abstinence education programs are based on the basic public health principle of primary
prevention. They mirror other widely accepted youth-oriented programs
that advocate risk avoidance strategies for drugs, alcohol, and
tobacco. Few, if any, public health professionals would argue against
abstinence as the healthiest behavior for school-aged children.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the only sex education
programs to have actually documented decreased teen pregnancy were
The Heritage Foundation, a public-policy research organization, published the following information in Policy Social Welfare analyst Melissa G. Pardue's Dec. 2, 2004 article titled "Waxman Report Is Riddled with Errors and Inaccuracies":
"There are currently 10 evaluations
showing the effectiveness of abstinence education in reducing teen
sexual activity. Of these 10 evaluations, four were published in
Additionally, an April
2003 study published in Adolescent and Family Health found that
increased abstinence was the major cause of declining birth and
pregnancy rates among teen girls. This study found that increased
abstinence accounted for 67 percent of the decline in pregnancy rate
for teen girls ages 15 to 19. Similarly, 51 percent of the drop in the
birth rate for single teen girls was attributed to abstinence. A
similar study released in the August 2004 Journal of Adolescent Health
attributes 53 percent of the decline in pregnancy rates for 15-17 year
olds to decreased sexual activity, which was larger than the decline
attributed to contraceptive use."
Concerned Women for America (CWA), a public policy women's organization, quoted Lanier Swann, CWA's Director of Government Relations, as having said the following in a Dec. 3, 2004 press release titled "The Truth About Abstinence-Only Education":
"What could be more solidly scientific than telling a
child that abstinence is the only method that is 100 percent effective
in protecting from pregnancy and specific sexually transmitted
diseases? I see no blur there.
ACLU needs to hire stronger fact-checkers before cranking out
inaccurate press releases.... Under the stipulations from federal
funding, abstinence education must be presented factually, not based
solely on religious undertones, as the ACLU would have us believe. In
fact, according to the Abstinence Clearinghouse, its exclusive purpose
[is] teaching the social, psychological and health gains to be realized
by abstaining from sexual activity."
David N. Bass, a self-described "homeschool graduate turned political pundit," wrote in his Feb. 19, 2005 article "'Misunderestimating' Generation Next," published in WorldNetDaily:
one can deny that there is a concerted effort under way across the
nation to discredit abstinence-until-marriage education as prudish,
medically inaccurate, unscientific and hopelessly out of step with the
times. Contraception-based programs, on the other hand, are heralded as
a boon to teen-kind...
But our generation is
not a lost cause, as hard as that notion may be for sex-ed profiteers
to stomach. We have the ability to exercise self-discipline and to
understand the physical and emotional blessings resulting from chastity
before marriage and faithful monogamy afterward...
expect more of the younger generation, they'll give you more; if you
expect less, they'll give you less. It's the responsibility of parents
and educators to set high behavioral standards. Throwing money at
programs that encourage children to cave in to every impulse won't
accomplish anything; placing confidence in the next generation and
actually setting standards that require an iota of self-responsibility
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) stated in a Dec. 1, 2004 press release titled "What the Research Shows: Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Sex Education Does Not Protect Teenagers' Health":
"There is no conclusive evidence that
abstinence-only sex education, which teaches students to abstain from
sex until married and generally only teaches about contraceptive
failure, reduces the rate of unintended pregnancy or sexually
transmitted infections (STIs). Moreover, research indicates that many
of these programs do not help teens delay having sex...
On the other hand,
evidence shows that comprehensive sexuality education programs that
provide information about abstinence and contraception can help delay
the start of sexual activity in teenagers and increase condom use among
sexually active teens. Yet there is currently no federal program
dedicated to supporting comprehensive sexuality education."
Arthur Caplan, PhD, Emanuel and Robert Hart Professor of Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote in an October 13, 2005 commentary piece published by MSNBC.com titled "Abstinence-only Sex Ed Defies Common Sense" that:
"Eleven states have tried to evaluate
their abstinence-only programs and the results have been dismal. In
Kansas, the evaluators stated that 'no changes [were] noted in
participants' actual or intended behavior.' Evaluators of the Texas
program found the same thing - no change in the number of students
pledging to remain celibate until marriage. In fact, more students
reported having had sex after taking an abstinence-only sex ed course
then they did beforehand.
The fact is that a teen has a pretty
good chance of getting involved in sex before graduating from high
school and a small chance of being involved in something other than
consensual male-female sexual intercourse. In addition to there being
no evidence that abstinence-only sex ed works, there is no reason to
believe that this form of sex education is even on the same planet as
those it is intended to reach...Science and common sense, not wishful
thinking and hypocrisy, should guide what we teach kids about sex."
Peter Bearman, PhD, Director of the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy at Columbia University and co-author of a study entitled "After the Promise: The STD Consequences of Adolescent Virginity Pledges," published in the Apr. 2005 issue of Journal of Adolescent Health, stated the following in his article:
"In 2001... we were able to show that
taking virginity pledges delayed sex by about 18 months.... Then, of
course, many kids have sex whether they pledge or not, and pledgers [who broke their pledge and had sex]
were much less likely than non-pledgers to use contraceptives. So the
benefits of delaying sex wash out, because of enhanced risk. Kids
likely do benefit from delaying sex. But from a public health point of
view, the pledge doesn't reduce pregnancy or STD acquisition rates for
Although pledgers have slightly fewer partners than non-pledgers [on average]... pledgers have STD rates that are statistically the same as non-pledgers. There are three reasons for that.
The first reason is, they are less likely to use condoms [when they first have sex]....
Secondly, pledgers are less likely than non-pledgers to think they have
an STD when they have one; they are less likely to see a doctor to get
diagnosed for an STD; and they are less likely than non-pledgers to get
treated for an STD that they do have. And then the third reason is that
kids who took virginity pledges and remained virgins were more likely
to engage in what we call 'substitutional sex.'"
Henry A. Waxman, Representative (D-CA), stated the following in his Dec. 2004 report "The Content of Federally Funded Abstinence-Only Education Programs," published by the US House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform - Special Investigations Division:
the scarcity of comprehensive sex education courses in schools across
much of the United States, abstinence-only education programs may be
the only formal reproductive health education that many children and
adolescents receive... in the most comprehensive analysis of teen
pregnancy prevention programs, researchers found that 'the few rigorous
studies of abstinence-only curricula that have been completed to date
do not show any overall effect on sexual behavior or contraceptive
The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) wrote in its Jan. 2005 health information page "Abstinence-Only 'Sex' Education" (accessed on Jan. 9, 2009):
sexuality education doesn't work. There is little evidence that teens
who participate in abstinence-only programs abstain from intercourse
longer than others. It is known, however that when they do become
sexually active, teens who received abstinence-only education often
fail to use condoms or other contraceptives... Meanwhile, students in
comprehensive sexuality education classes do not engage in sexual
activity more often or earlier, but do use contraception and practice
safer sex more consistently when they become sexually active...
sexuality education organization in the U.S., as well as prominent
health organizations including the American Medical Association, have
denounced abstinence-only sexuality education."