Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Bush legacy; faith-based birth control

Faith-based birth control

The New York Times
June 18, 2009 Editorial

Teenagers and Pregnancy

“Between 1991 and 2003, increased contraceptive use among sexually active teenagers played an important role in driving down teenage pregnancy rates. Since then, according to a new report from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, contraceptive use by teens has declined while their sexual activity has remained unchanged. This is a worrisome shift — and it has bearing on the coming budget battle in Congress.

The report’s authors, Dr. John Santelli, Mark Orr, Laura Lindberg and Daniela Diaz, said they found a decrease of about 10 percent in contraception use that is consistent with recent gains in the teenage birth rate.

They suggest, not unreasonably, a link between the shift in use of contraception and one of former President George W. Bush’s great social-policy follies: highly restrictive abstinence-only sex education programs that deny young people information about sexually transmitted diseases, contraceptives and pregnancy. To the extent these programs even mention condoms, typically it is to disparage their effectiveness.

Responding to mounting evidence of the program’s danger as a public health strategy, many states now decline to participate, forgoing federal money.

To President Obama’s credit, his budget plan would direct current funds now devoted to the abstinence-only programs, along with some additional money, to a new teenage pregnancy prevention initiative, with an emphasis on comprehensive sex education.

This science-based effort to protect the health of young people and reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies should win support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle — and both sides of the abortion divide.”

1 comment:

  1. I think this study proves that social conservatism does not work. The conservatives thought that condoms and sex-ed would encourage provacative behavior, but their denial actually had the opposite effect.

    If they had done a more responsible approach, talking about both the pleasures and dangers of sex from pregnancy to STDs, the teenage birth rate would have continued to decline. Just telling them not to do something won't guarantee they won't do it anyway.


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