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Study Is Further Proof That Abstinence-Only Doesn't Work

Washington, DC — In response to the release of today's Mathematica evaluation of abstinence-only programs, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) called on Congress to stop funding programs that don't work and instead support medically accurate, comprehensive sex education with the Responsible Education About Life (REAL) Act.  The Mathematica study found that when compared to a control group, students who attended abstinence-only programs were no more likely to delay sexual activity or have fewer partners.

PPFA President Cecile Richards issued the following statement:

“Since 1996, more than $1 billion federal dollars have been wasted on abstinence-only programs and this study is further proof they don't work.  It's time for Congress to stop wasting money and start getting real.  Approximately 750,000 U.S. teens will become pregnant this year, and nearly four million of them will contract a sexually transmitted infection — in part because they don't have access to the information they need to make responsible decisions about their health.  Congress should fund only programs that provide teens with the information they need to prevent unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS.

“Congress should take this opportunity to focus on real solutions for parents and teenagers.  We applaud Sen. Lautenberg, Rep. Lee, and Rep. Shays for recognizing the vital need for medically accurate, comprehensive sex education in our schools.  We urge Congress to put public health first and pass this bill, and we ask the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to ensure that federal funds are directed only to medically accurate sex education programs."

President Bush recently requested a $28 million increase in the FY08 budget for abstinence-only programs, which have been widely criticized for denying teens lifesaving information about how to protect themselves from unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. 

The bipartisan REAL Act would create a grant program administered by the Department of Health and Human Services that would fund comprehensive sex education programs in schools nationwide.  Currently, no federal program is dedicated to supporting comprehensive sex education, despite the proven effectiveness of such programs. It is estimated that only 10 percent of all American school districts have a sexuality education policy that is comprehensive and includes information about contraception and safer sex in addition to abstinence.

Every year, Planned Parenthood provides sexual and reproductive health services, education, and information to nearly five million women, men and teens.  Peer-educator training programs sponsored by Planned Parenthood affiliates teach young people how to prevent pregnancy, HIV, and other sexually transmitted infections, and how to talk with other young people about protecting themselves.


Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.


Planned Parenthood Federation of America


Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433


April 13, 2007