Rand Hultgren: abstinence-only education has “incredible success records.”

“Use, do not abuse.  Neither excess nor abstinence ever rendered man happy.”  ~ Voltaire

Rand Hultgren just went on the Washington Watch to trumpet his new legislation, and to brag about how abstinence-only education works.

Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL) appeared on Washington Watch yesterday with Family Research Council Tony Perkins to discuss his legislation that “would spend $110 million a year for the next five years on grants to abstinence programs around the country,” funding that would have otherwise gone towards comprehensive sexual education. He claimed that while the Obama administration backs “very dangerous and experimental education programs,” programs pushing abstinence-only-until-marriage curriculum have “incredible success records.”

Except none of that is true.  Although, to be fair, for a guy who thinks the low success rate of prayer counts as “working”, abstinence-only education may also appear to “work”.  However, for those of us who like success rates that actually measure up to a reasonable standard of success, Hultgren could not be more wrong.

Far from having “incredible success records,” abstinence programs have a history of failure. Reports have consistently found that there is no evidence to support the claim that abstinence-only-until-marriage programs reduce premarital sex or teen pregnancy; on the other hand, studies show that comprehensive sex-ed decreases the rate of teen pregnancy and STDs.

Brace yourself, church-goers: people have sex.  Take a moment to catch your breath.  But it turns out that pledging to be abstinent does not stop young people from having sex.

One might wonder then, exactly how abstinence “education” or abstinence pledges prevent young pregnancies and STDs…y’know, the two perks that those supporting abstinence swarm us with when touting the virtue of virginity.  Well, while abstinence pledges don’t reduce the likelihood a teen will have sex, they do significantly reduce the odds that those teens will have sex responsibly.

The study also found that teens who took a virginity pledge were 10 percent less likely to use a condom and less likely to use any other form of birth control than their non-pledging counterparts.

And I can just imagine the cop-outs…

“You can’t look at this issue too scientifically.”

“If your faith is true, you’ll stay abstinent.”

“Think of how nice it will be to give your virginity to your husband.”

Pretty damn lame, if you ask me.  I’ve been physical with virgins.  It’s tedious and far less fun.  Imagine that the moment Super Smash Brothers Brawl (freaking awesome game) came out, and your parents told you “Wouldn’t it be special if you waited until you were married to play this for the first time?”  Hell no, it wouldn’t!  If I did that, she might be really good at the game by then and get bored teaching me how to do something simple like double-jump…or find the clitoris.  You want to please your spouse on your wedding night?  Then know what the hell you’re doing.  It’s not something you start being good at (unless you’re me, I’ve always been amazing…).

Ok, that last part was a lie.

So, you want to have fewer STDs and unwanted pregnancy?  Throw on a condom, take your birth control, get tested for STDs, know the people you’re sleeping with, and go proudly embrace the fact that you are a human being.  Remember, god didn’t want you to eat shrimp either.  Do not try to hold your sexual breath until you find who you think is the right guy/gal, or until you marry the wrong person way too young out of biological desperation

And now, fun sex links, courtesy of one of my favorite youtube peeps, cdk007:

How sex evolved.
The joy of sexual reproduction.
Is multi-gender sex better?
Is god pro-life?

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.


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