Say No or Yes or Maybe?
This is an important point because even the most successful "comprehensive" sex education programs the ones that include contraceptive and STD information show only modest impact on teens' behavior, and many have themselves been proven ineffective. A 2001 study of comprehensive sex-ed programs by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy found only eight curricula that were proven to either delay sexual activity, decrease pregnancy rates, decrease STD infection rates, or some combination of the three. What is important, says Bill Albert of the campaign, is that we not get bogged down in arguments for or against broad categories of "abstinence-only" or "comprehensive" education, but to find and disseminate the programs and curricula that have been proven to work all of which, for the time being, include solid information about contraception.
"We do have a small but growing list of programs that seem to work," said Albert. "Generally people want to spend money on things that are proven to be effective." But that doesn't apply to the Bush administration: This year the federal government will spend around $130 million on abstinence-only programs.