Government Support for Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Education
Duffy, K., Lynch, D. A., & Santinelli, J. Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (2008), Vol. 84 No. 6, pp. 746–748.
This article discusses the effectiveness of the United States Federal Government’s support of abstinence only-until-marriage (AOUM) programs. AOUM programs are defined as promoting abstinence from sexual activity and limiting discussion of condoms and contraception, except in regard to failure rates. According to the authors, although monetary support for these programs has increased substantially in the past decade, no research has shown that they are effective at preventing teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. Furthermore, recent analyses reveal that many of these programs contain misleading and medically inaccurate information. Federal support for AOUM programming began in 1982 under the auspices of the Adolescent Family Life Act, greatly expanding after 1996 with the enactment of welfare reform that provided $50 million per year to fund AOUM programs. Although the funding has continued to grow, because of the lack of evidence supporting the protective effects of AOUM programs, health experts, including the Society for Adolescent Medicine, have begun to question the utility of continued funding. Furthermore, the Society for Adolescent Medicine recommends that current funding for abstinence-only programs should be replaced with funding for programs that offer comprehensive, medically accurate sexuality education.