Abstinence Only Sex Education Shown Not to Lead to Abstinence

Researchers at the University of Georgia found that states with students in public schools who receive abstinence only sex education have significantly higher rates of unplanned teenage pregnancy and birth rates than states who provide comprehensive sex education.

Data on teen pregnancy and birth rates from 48 states was studied to evaluate sex education effectiveness. The study, which has been published in the online Journal PLos ONE, provides the first large scale evidence that teen pregnancy rates are affected by the type of sex education teens receive in schools. Even when considering ethnicity, socio-economic status, education levels and Medicaid wavers, which are all factors that can influence teen pregnancy rates, the study found that the type of sex education students received and its relation to teen pregnancy rates remained at the same significant level. In fact, the study also found that the stronger abstinence only sex education is emphasized, the higher the teen pregnancy and birth rates. The study further found that states which provided comprehensive sex education which included abstinence along with contraception and condom education had significantly lower teen pregnancy and birth rates.

While we know that correlation does not prove causality, it is fair to suggest that if abstinence only sex education prevented teen pregnancy they way its supporters suggest, the correlation would be the opposite of what the study found. David Hall, second author of the study stated,” This clearly shows that prescribed abstinence only education in public schools does not lead to abstinent behavior. It may even contribute to the high teen pregnancy rates in the U.S. compared to other industrialized countries.”

Currently there are two types of federal funding are available for sexuality education. States now have the ability to choose between funding for abstinence only or comprehensive sex education for schools. This is significant as it gives legislators the ability to request funding for the type of sex education that reduces teen pregnancy the most, which according to the University of Georgia study is comprehensive sex education.



Sponsored Links

Related Articles

  • article thumbnail
    Safe Sex Education vs Abstinence Only
    Safe sex education vs. abstinence only has been a heated debate topic for decades. Schools play a large role in this topic. Many teachers feel it is important to teach teenage…
  • article thumbnail
    Comprehensive Sex Education vs. Abstinence Only Education
    Comprehensive Sex Education or Abstinence Only Education? Which is the best way to teach adolescents about sex? There are a lot of strong opinions on both sides of the debat…
  • article thumbnail
    Safe Sex Education in Schools
    For many years, safe sex education in schools has been a controversial subject. Many parents want their children taught about safe sex and just as many parents think sex educa…

Support Groups


For individuals, friends and families who are need to connect during life's challenging times. Share personal experiences, evaluate information and get support in a confidential, caring environment.



The information provided on Contracept.org is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational purposes and does not constitute the practice of medicine. We encourage all visitors to see a licensed physician or nutritionist if they have any concerns regarding health issues related to diet, personal image and any other topics discussed on this site. Neither the owners or employees of Contracept.org nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.

Sponsored Links

Login or Sign Up