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« on: May 08, 2007, 10:53:42 AM »

9 of 10 parents want their kids abstinent 
Majority believe teaching contraception encourages sexual activity

A new survey shows nine out of 10 parents agree being sexually abstinent is best for their child's health and future and, mostly, believe the message to wait is lost when sex education teaches the use of contraceptives.

The Zogby Poll done for the National Abstinence Education Association was released just as Congress is scheduled to put the issue of funding abstinence-only education programs on its agenda.

Valerie Huber, the association's executive director, said the poll also reveals the preference for abstinence-only education programs rises sharply – from 40 percent to 60 percent – when parents understand that sex education programs encompassing contraceptives do encourage sexual activity. Only 30 percent continue to maintain that "comprehensive" sex education is preferable.

"Parents simply want the best for their children," Huber told WND. "Once they think of what specifically is best for their own son or daughter, they choose abstinence, regardless of their [political agenda]."

She said the facts – if you take away the ideology – remain that same: abstinence is the one guaranteed method of preventing unwanted teen pregnancies and the related complications.

"When we look at any kind of public health message, we always point to what is the best course of action, whether we're talking about kids not starting to smoke, or to prevent obesity," she said. In the first instance, don't touch cigarettes, in the second, eat healthy food and remain active.

She said found it "incredulous" that people could say they want to address teen pregnancy, but continue to support programs that teach children exactly what they then are expected not to do.

Among the findings of the study, which had a margin of error of 3.2 percent, 90 percent of parents agree that abstinence is best for their own child, two-thirds believe the "wait" message is lost in programs that demonstrate and encourage the use of contraceptives, more than half think promoting and demonstrating condom usage encourages sexual activity and a vast majority of parents do not believe their teens will use those contraceptives every time.

"Alternatives," such as showering together which are included in comprehensive sex education courses, also encourage sexual activity, according to two-thirds of the parents who responded.

"Americans across all ideologies, religions, etc… It didn't take very long for them, once they understood what abstinence education is, to choose it," she said. "We're hoping that Congress understands what this is about."

The poll revealed that 80 percent of parents believe sex education in public schools should place more emphasis on promoting abstinence vs. contraceptive use, and 90 percent believe it is important for schools to emphasize abstaining from sex.

Eight out of 10 of the parents support the fundamentals of abstinence-only education regarding the development of healthy relationships to improve the chances of a health future marriage, abstinence benefitting even students who have been sexually active, and premarital sexual activity being reduced through increasing self-worth and self-control.

The study showed that more than 90 percent of the parents also believe their teens need to know the limitations of contraceptives, and by a 3-to-1 margin, want more government funding for abstinence education.

While preferences for abstinence education rose from 40 percent to 60 percent as parents learned of the specifics of sex education programs, support for those agendas also dropped from 50 percent to 30 percent.

"This sharp increase in support of abstinence education is seen across all political and economic groups," the group said.

"While abstinence education has been continually misrepresented by its opponents, we were confident that parents would strongly prefer abstinence education over so-called 'comprehensive' sex education after they received full, accurate information about this common sense educational approach," Huber said.

Officials noted that on June 30, federal funding for state abstinence programs will expire unless Congress acts to renew them.

Just days earlier, a complaint had been filed against several federally-funded abstinence education programs by the ACLU and several other groups. The programs are accused of giving teens "incomplete and misleading" information about sex.

While the complaint targets three programs, it calls for the cancellation of federal funding for more than a thousand different abstinence-until-marriage education programs across the country, according to Leslie Unruh, founder of the Abstinence Clearinghouse.

One of the challenged curriculums no longer is published, officials said.

Lesley Scearce, executive director of the challenged Know Why program, said the political timing is "transparent."

"It's no coincidence that the re-release of these claims comes during congressional debate of abstinence funding," she said. "Parents tell us they are concerned about the health and safety of their children and want the best for their future."

Since that program was launched, its county teen pregnancy rate has declined from 28.9 percent to 15.1 percent.

Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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