Saturday, April 26, 2008

sexual abstinence until marriage in the US

US lawmakers are investigating whether to cut government funding for health education programmes that promote sexual abstinence until marriage.
The move follows a report earlier this year from America's leading health agency, the Center for Disease Control, which revealed one in four teenage girls has a sexually transmitted disease.
Planned Parenthood estimates that two thirds of teenagers will have experienced sexual intercourse by the time they leave school.
And with some 750,000 teenage pregnancies a year, America has one of the highest teen birth rates in the developed world.
"This national programme which has wasted $1.5bn (£750m) of tax money is a failure and our teens are paying the price," says Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood.
State governments receive federal money they must match to fund abstinence programmes.
At least 17 states have opted out of the system and others have suspended funding while Congress investigates whether such programmes work.
Critics say there is no evidence that they delay sexual activity and teenagers who have taken a vow of virginity are less likely to use protection if they break their promise.

The row over abstinence education is part of a much wider debate in the US about "family values".
Many conservatives are concerned that "American values" are being eroded.
But their opponents believe that the conservatives have an overly influential political voice, particularly within the current Bush administration.
For liberals, the campaign to roll back the abstinence programmes is part of a broader struggle against what they regard as reactionary elements in the US government.
If Congress does decide to cut government funding for abstinence programmes, they will still continue. Many enjoy public support and will likely find money elsewhere

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