Virginity Pledges: The Debate Continues

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Virginity Pledges: The Debate Continues

Over the past few years, we seen new studies presented, some claiming the ineffectiveness of teen virginity pledges and others claiming their effectiveness. In the newest study to be released, the conclusion is that these pledges are ineffective. This no doubt, will add fuel to the debate over governmental funding of abstinence education.

My most recent post on this issue (June 2008) was about a study that indicated that pledges can work. Click here to read that post.

Premarital Abstinence Pledges Ineffective, Study Finds

Teenagers who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are just as likely to have premarital sex as those who do not promise abstinence and are significantly less likely to use condoms and other forms of birth control when they do, according to a study released today.

The new analysis of data from a large federal survey found that more than half of youths became sexually active before marriage regardless of whether they had taken a "virginity pledge," but that the percentage who took precautions against pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases was 10 points lower for pledgers than for non-pledgers.

"Taking a pledge doesn't seem to make any difference at all in any sexual behavior," said Janet E. Rosenbaum of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, whose report appears in the January issue of the journal Pediatrics. "But it does seem to make a difference in condom use and other forms of birth control that is quite striking."

Proponents of such (virginity pledge) programs, however, dismissed the study as flawed and argued that programs that focus on abstinence go much further than simply asking youths to make a one-time promise to remain virgins.

"It is remarkable that an author who employs rigorous research methodology would then compromise those standards by making wild, ideologically tainted and inaccurate analysis regarding the content of abstinence education programs," said Valerie Huber of the National Abstinence Education Association.

Source: Washington Post

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