Celibacy teaching dropped by US states

Sunday Telegraph (UK) 21 July 2007
For more than a decade, America’s campaigners for sexual abstinence have successfully preached that the best thing for teenagers is to stay celibate – and that the best thing for schools is to teach chastity and never mention condoms. Abstinence-only sex education is thought ineffective by some… … A string of states from Montana to Maine have decided to stop teaching pupils to “Just say no” and a key Senate committee has voted to cut government spending on abstinence-only sex education…Most significantly, opponents of the 700 schemes across America – with names such as Virginity Rules and Great to Wait – have seized on research released in April to argue that teaching teenagers not to have sex makes little difference. Lawmakers in 14 states have this year concluded that the education programmes they once backed with such enthusiasm are ineffective and a waste of public funds.Advocates of abstinence -dispute that, however, and insist they are in tune with the wishes of American parents. “This is a philosophical divide over sexual values,” said Robert Rector, a research fellow at the conservative -Heritage Foundation, who drafted federal legislation on abstinence education in 1996. “The groups who have been hot to abolish these programmes from the start represent values left over from the sexual revolution of the -Sixties. That does not reflect what American parents want.” Campaigners against abstinence-only schooling object to the ban on any mention of contraception, claiming that increases unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. Their opponents counter that teaching children how to use contraception encourages them to have sex.