Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Feds' Report Supports Obama's Abstinence Termination

A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel has (surprise!) concluded that abstinence is ineffective, but refuses to substantiate the conclusion with facts.

UPDATE 11/26/09: Still waiting for CDC to disclose data

-- From "Findings inconclusive on teaching abstinence" by Rob Stein, Washington Post Staff Writer 11/7/09

Sex-education programs that encourage teens to delay sexual activity and teach them about contraception cut risky sexual behavior, increase condom use and lower the chances of getting the AIDS virus and other infections, a panel of independent experts concluded in a report released Friday.

But there is insufficient evidence to know whether programs that focus on encouraging teens to remain sexually abstinent until marriage are effective, the panel concluded.

The analysis was conducted by a 19-member team of experts assembled by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to examine the politically sensitive question.

The findings come as Congress considers whether to approve President Obama's request to discontinue earmarking funding specifically for abstinence programs and instead allocate funding based on whether scientific research supports the approach.

The findings were welcomed by advocates of programs that reduce teen pregnancy and critics of abstinence programs.

Two members of the CDC team issued a dissenting report disputing the findings. They argued, among other things, that the analysis actually shows that comprehensive sexual-education programs in schools do not significantly increase teen condom use, reduce teen pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.

"This is an important finding because the school classroom is where most teens receive sex education," said Irene Erickson of the Institute for Research and Evaluation, who issued the dissenting report with Danielle Ruedt of the Georgia Governor's Office of Children and Families. "Furthermore, the data indicated that many types of [comprehensive] programs do not work, even in non-school settings, yet the recommendations do not identify what those are. Unfortunately, the report's conclusion that comprehensive sex-education programs are broadly effective simply ignores these findings. This is misleading to policymakers who are seeking evidence-based programs, especially for schools."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "CDC Task Force Says Sex Ed Better Than Abstinence Ed But Won’t Release Full Data to Public" by Penny Starr, CNSNews Senior Staff Writer, 11/16/09

The 15-member Task Force on Community Preventive Services and four other experts made up the team, which analyzed dozens of studies of sex education programs conducted between 1980 and 2007.

A list of the studies is available on the Community Guide portion of the CDC Web site, but the task force’s analysis of the studies is not.

Lack of access to that analysis, critics say, prevents an open review of data they contend shows that abstinence programs were underrepresented in the studies used and that using comprehensive sex education programs in school settings did not reduce teen pregnancy, STDs, or increase the use of condoms.

“The Task Force has made public its recommendation statements without also making available to the public the full set of study findings upon which the recommendations are based – both supporting and otherwise,” Irene Ericksen, a member of the review team and researcher with the Institute for Research and Evaluation, said about the recommendations.

“This prevents the public from scrutinizing the body of evidence underlying the CDC Task Force Recommendations in the same time frame in which the CDC recommendations will influence the decisions of policymakers and public health professionals,” she said.

Danielle Ruedt, the public health program coordinator for the Georgia governor’s Office of Children and Families and a member of the task force, said that when used in school settings, the data do not support the task force’s sweeping recommendations.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.