Critics say no reliable evidence exists that abstinence-only programs have a significant effect on young people.
"To fail to admit that there are people who won't be abstinent is to give a death sentence to some students who will not know how to protect themselves," Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, told CT.
But Barbara Elliott of the Center for Renewal in Houston points to the Best Friends program as a success story. A nonprofit private foundation, Best Friends works with 5,000 girls in 90 schools and 14 states. In 1999, Best Friends surveyed 2,631 girls who were in grades 4-12 and enrolled in its abstinence-only program.
Seventy-five percent said they wanted to save sexual intimacy for marriage. Three percent said they had been sexually active in 1999. Less than one percent reported being pregnant during 1999. By comparison, experts report that 50 percent of all American teenagers become sexually active during high school.
Also appearing on our site today:
ACLU Claims Abstinence Program Is ReligiousLouisiana official vows to wage a legal fight 'to the hilt.'
Related articles on abstinence programs and their effectiveness include:
Teen abstinence programs catch on—The State (May 8, 2002)
Bush presses for $135 million to encourage abstinence only — Los Angeles Times (March 4, 2002)
Abstinence-Only Initiative Advancing—The New York Times (Feb. 28, 2002)
Virginity Pledges by Teenagers Can Be Highly Effective, Federal Study Finds—The New York Times (Jan. 4, 2001)
Previous Christianity Today articles on abstinence ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more