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Catholic World News News Feature

New US studies back effectiveness of abstinence education April 22, 2008

Two new studies presented at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, provide encouraging findings about abstinence education.

The first study by Dr. Stan Weed of the Institute of Research and Evaluation, evaluated the impact of abstinence education in reducing the initiation of sexual activity by 7th graders in suburban Virginia. Weed's findings demonstrate that abstinence-education programs cut the rate of sexual initiation among students almost in half; gender and race did not affect the outcome. Weed is scheduled to present his findings at a hearing in the US House of Representatives on April 23.

The second paper was a background paper published by the Heritage Foundation's Christine Kim and Robert Rector. This paper reviews 21 abstinence-education programs and finds that 16 overall reported statistically positive results such as delayed sexual initiation and reduced levels of early sexual activity.

Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America, concluded, "Refraining from sexual initiation is the healthiest decision for youth. It protects them from pregnancy, STDs, other risk behaviors and emotional entanglements that are too intimate for immature youth to handle. This is the main criteria on which sex education programs should be evaluated, and these new studies show that abstinence education successfully reduces sexual initiation."

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