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Washington, D.C., Advocates for Youth, 2005.  p. (The Facts)The Responsible Education about Life (REAL) Act, formerly the Family Life Education Act, would provide federal money to support responsible sex education in schools. This education would include science-based, medically accurate, and age appropriate public health information about both abstinence and also contraception. Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced the REAL Act in Congress (H.R. 2553 and S. 368). (excerpt)
Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. 2006 Nov; 160(11):1151-1156.The objective was to examine US public opinion on sex education in schools to determine how the public's preferences align with those of policymakers and research scientists. Design: Cross-sectional survey. Setting: July 2005 through January 2006. Participants: Randomly selected nationally representative sample of US adults aged 18 to 83 years (N=1096). Main Outcome Measures: Support for 3 different types of sex education in schools: abstinence only, comprehensive sex education, and condom instruction. Approximately 82% of respondents indicated support for programs that teach students about both abstinence and other methods of preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Similarly, 68.5% supported teaching how to properly use condoms. Abstinence-only education programs, in contrast, received the lowest levels of support (36%) and the highest level of opposition (about 50%) across the 3 program options. Self-identified conservative, liberal, and moderate respondents all supported abstinence-plus programs, although the extent of support varied significantly. Our results indicate that US adults, regardless of political ideology, favor a more balanced approach to sex education compared with the abstinence-only programs funded by the federal government. In summary, abstinence-only programs, while a priority of the federal government, are supported by neither a majority of the public nor the scientific community. (author's)
Comprehensive sex education: strong public support and persuasive evidence of impact, but little funding.
Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. 2006 Nov; 160(11):1182-1184.The article by Bleakley et al strong evidence that a very large majority of adults in this country supports comprehensive sex education programs that teach about abstinence and also other methods of preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease, whereas only a minority of adults supports the teaching of only abstinence. These results build on numerous somewhat similar surveys that have been conducted for decades demonstrating such support. Indeed, as long ago as 1943, the Gallup Poll found that 68% of adults approved of sex education in schools. By 1985, that support had increased to 85%. Furthermore, for decades these polls have demonstrated that adults want the instruction to include both abstinence and condoms and other methods of contraception. Notably, this support is not limited to only certain parts of the country; similar polls in more conservative southern states, such as North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas, have demonstrated strong support for programs that encourage abstinence but also encourage the use of condoms and other contraceptives among those who do have sex. (excerpt)
Washington, D.C., National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, .  p.There is reason to be concerned about adolescents having sex at an early age. Early sexual activity has been linked to a greater number of sexual partners over time and an increased risk of both teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). In addition, the younger a girl is the first time she has sex, the more likely it is that the experience was unwanted. The information in this fact sheet, collected from nationally representative data sets and public opinion surveys, provides some insights into the sexual attitudes and behavior of young adolescents. (excerpt)
Washington, D.C., National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, Putting What Works to Work, 2004 Feb.  p. (Science Says No. 7)Who most influences teens' decisions about sex? Do parents or peers matter more? Should society strongly encourage adolescents to abstain from sexual intercourse? What do adults and teens think about topics such as contraception, virginity, and the influence of the media? Understanding Americans' attitudes about these topics helps point to strategies for addressing teen pregnancy prevention. To that end, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy commissions annual surveys of adults and adolescents seeking answers to these and related questions. This Science Says brief summarizes some of the key findings from the National Campaign's 2003 survey. Data in this brief are drawn from the publication, With One Voice 2003: America's Adults and Teens Sound Off About Teen Pregnancy. The surveys were conducted via telephone in August and September 2003 with over 1,000 adults (aged 20 and over) and 1,000 adolescents (aged 12--19). All results are considered nationally representative. See the methodology section below for more information on how these surveys were conducted. (excerpt)
Asia-Pacific Population Journal. 2004 Dec; 19(4):3-5.The debate between the protagonists of the Condoms, Needles and Negotiating Skills (CNN) and the Abstinence, Be Faithful and Use Condoms (ABC) approaches could go on forever. It is time for the proponents on each side to put aside their differences and begin working together to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic. To claim that either approach is superior to the other is to fail to recognize the potential benefits that each approach can have for various individuals, communities and cultures. We must recognize that all individuals are different. It is therefore foolish to limit ourselves by this "either-or" way of thinking. (excerpt)