NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Sex Ed = Abstinence

December 15, 1999

Sex education in U.S. public schools is focusing more on abstinence, according to two new studies. One in three schools is using an abstinence-only curriculum that only discusses contraception in relation to its failures.

According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute and the Kaiser Family Foundation, which did the studies:

  • Only 45 percent of those schools questioned offered information on where to get birth control.
  • Just 39 percent told how to use condoms.
  • An even smaller number (37 percent) mention abortion or sexual orientation (36 percent) as part of the curriculum.
  • More than 95 percent say AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases are discussed.

The Guttmacher poll of school superintendants showed most school districts have changed their policies over the past decade, reflecting a national political move that culminated in legislation in 1996 allocating nearly $440 million in state and federal money over five years for abstinence-only programs.

Source: Jodi Wilgoren, "Abstinence Is Focus Of U.S. Sex Education," New York Times, December 15, 1999.


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