Teen Birth Rate Increase Demonstrates Need For Authentic Abstinence Education

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Authentic Abstinence Education

Yesterday's announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reporting a rise in the U.S. teen birth rate for the first time since 1991, clearly illustrates the utter failure of contraceptive-based sex education, the Family Research Council (FRC) declared today. FRC called for a focus on authentic abstinence education as the best form of prevention for youth in the country.

"What we're really witnessing are the effects of contraceptive-focused sex education, often labeled as 'comprehensive sex education,'" stated Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. "So-called comprehensive sex education falsely exaggerates the protective effect of condoms and promotes unsafe behavior. The results could not be clearer--an increase in STD rates in young people, and an increase in out-of-wedlock teenage pregnancies."

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"Authentic abstinence-until-marriage education focuses on a risk avoidance strategy rather than mere risk reduction, to help youth avoid sexual activity, build character and develop healthy relationships. In contrast with the physical-health-only approach of contraceptive-based education, abstinence-until-marriage education promotes a holistic health prevention message which addresses mental, emotional, and physical health in a mutually reinforcing way," added Perkins.

FRC also criticized the twelve states that have rejected Title V abstinence education funding for their youth (Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, Maine, California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Wisconsin, Arizona, Montana, and Connecticut). Another handful are considering the dangerous decision.

"By rejecting this funding, legislatures or governors in these states are denying youth in their states education about skills that will help them to practice the best prevention--the complete avoidance of high-risk behavior," said Perkins.

The CDC report also noted an increase in births to unmarried women, which are now a U.S. record 38.5 percent of all births. "When people talk about 'abstinence until marriage,' both parts are important," declared FRC's Perkins. "An abundance of research shows that children born to married parents have significant and enduring advantages in life. This report illustrates not only the importance of abstinence programs, but also of programs to encourage the formation and survival of healthy marriages."

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