In other words, the federal and state governments have spent more than $1.5 billion over the past 10 years on programs that simply do not work. A copy of the full report is available at www.mathematica-mpr.com/welfare/abstinence.asp.
The 10-year study confirms the findings made by the Institute of Medicine, the nation's premier public-health authority, which called abstinence-only-until-marriage "poor fiscal and public-health policy" and urged Congress to repeal the funding. Additionally, the leading public health organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society for Adolescent Medicine, and the American Medical Association, all support a comprehensive sex-education approach.
What teens need and parents want is medically accurate, comprehensive sex education programs that include abstinence, birth control and sexually transmitted disease prevention information.
Seventy-six percent of voters surveyed by Harris Interactive in July agreed with the statement: "For teenagers, prevention starts with comprehensive sex education, including abstinence. But, if we are serious about wanting to decrease unintended pregnancies, we also need to make sure birth control is widely available and accessible."