Chats, Articles, Studies & Reports
Washington Post Live: Shelby Knox Answers Viewer Questions
Shelby Knox was online Wednesday, June 22, at 1 p.m. ET to discuss comprehensive sex education in high schools and the POV film The Education of Shelby Knox. Read the transcript of her conversation with viewers.
Beliefnet.com: The Case Against Abstinence-Only Sex Education
In this interview with Shelby Knox, Beliefnet's Senior Religion Editor, Laura Sheahen, asks Shelby whether teens are really interested in getting information about sex from their teachers, what her lesson plan for a sex ed program would be, and whether she still thinks virginity pledges are valuable. (June 20, 2005)
The Washington Times: 5 abstinence programs receive favorable reviews
An article about a conference sponsored by the Medical Institute for Sexual Health reports on the research findings on the effectiveness of 5 abstinence-only programs. (May 28, 2005) [Read an interview with the founder of the Medical Institute for Sexual Health, Dr. Joseph McIlhaney.]
NBC News/People: National Survey of Young Teens Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors
NBC and People magazine commissioned a report by Princeton Survey Research Associates International that found that nearly 3 in 10 young teens are "sexually active." Browse the companion materials from the larger Katie Couric special, "The 411: Teens and Sex," as well as the full poll and results. (January 31, 2005)
New Scientist magazine: Going All the Way; Do teenagers need more sex education, or less?
Read about the growing abstinence-only movement in England and Australia. In England, nearly 3 per cent of females aged 15 through 19 became mothers in 2002, compared with 4.3 per cent in the United States. (March 2005)
BeliefNet: Fear and Dating in Ohio
Mary Anne Mosack loves sex. She just doesn't want teens having it before they're married. (March 8, 2004)
BBC News: The Power of the Ring Thing
Abstinence programmes, and the organizations that promote them, are gaining momentum in the United States. An increasing number of teenagers are pledging themselves to no sex before marriage. (January 22, 2004)
Salon.com: Bush's Drive for Global Abstinence
At a United Nations conference in Bangkok, the U.S. shocks more than 30 Asian countries with a condemnation of premarital sex, contraception and abortion. (December 19, 2002)
Find links to more articles on these topics in the "Also on PBS and NPR" Resource page.
Mathematica Policy Research: Impacts of Four Title V, Section 510 Abstinence Education Programs
The final evaluation of 2,310 students participating in an evaluation of four abstinence-only education programs show that the programs increased support for abstinence.(PDF File) (June 14, 2005) [Read an interview with the lead researcher from this study, Dr. Rebecca Maynard.]
The Alan Guttmacher Institute: U.S. Teenage Pregnancy Statistics (PDF)
This definitive report provides statistical information on overall trends in teen pregnancy, as well as trends by race and ethnicity and state-by-state information. (February 19, 2004)
National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy: Emerging Answers (PDF)
The National Campaign synthesized the results of 250 individual studies that tracked the effects of sex education programs in the United States and Canada. (May 2001) [Read an interview with the lead researcher from this study, Dr. Douglas Kirby.]
Committee on Government Reform: The Content of Federally Funded Abstinence-Only Education Programs (PDF)
This report, prepared for Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), evaluated the content of the most popular abstinence-only curricula used by grantees of the largest federal abstinence initiative, SPRANS (Special Programs of Regional and National Significance Community-Based Abstinence Education) and found that over 80% of the abstinence-only curricula, used by over two-thirds of SPRANS grantees in 2003, contain false, misleading, or distorted information about reproductive health. (December 2004)
What Do Parents Want Taught in Sex Education Programs?
In 2003, the Coalition for Adolescent Sexual Health commissioned a poll by Zogby International to "survey parents withquestions that actually reveal the subjects taught by comprehensive sex education" in order to prove their long-held belief "that parents would flatly reject comprehensive sex education if they only knew what comprehensive sex education actually teaches their children." The poll results were published and reported on by the Heritage Foundation. (2004)
The Heritage Foundation: Increased Abstinence Causes a Large Drop in Teen Pregnancy
This report focuses on a study released by the Adolescent and Family Health journal in April 2003 that finds "increased abstinence is the major cause of the declining birth and pregnancy rates among single teenage girls." (May 2, 2003)
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy: Do Abstinence-Only Programs Delay the Initiation of Sex Among Young People and Reduce Teen Pregnancy? (PDF)
This review addresses whether the findings of the Emerging Answers studies are outdated by assessing the ten studies highlighted in the Heritage Foundation paper, "The Effectiveness of Abstinence Education Programs in Reducing Sexual Activity Among Youth." (October 2002)
The Heritage Foundation: The Effectiveness of Abstinence Education Programs in Reducing Sexual Activity Among Youth
This paper written by Robert Rector, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, asserts that "abstinence education programs for youth have been proven to be effective in reducing early sexual activity" by highlighting ten studies. (April 8, 2002)
Brookings Institute: What Can Be Done to Reduce Teen Pregnancy and Out-of-Wedlock Births?
When welfare reform was enacted in 1996, Congress placed high priority on reducing out-of-wedlock births and encouraging the formation of two-parent families. These goals remain somewhat controversial, but there is an emerging consensus that if we knew how to achieve them, children's lives would be improved. This brief argues that one of the least controversial and most effective ways of achieving these goals is to focus on preventing teen pregnancy. (October 2001)
The Abstinence Clearinghouse
The Clearinghouse, also an associate of abstinence advocates, aims to promote the appreciation for and practice of sexual abstinence (purity) until marriage through the distribution of materials.
Choosing the Best
Choosing the Best is the nation's largest sex abstinence educator and publisher, reaching one million American teachers, parents and children in 50 states, according to their estimates.
Concerned Women for America
CWA is a public policy women's organization aiming to promote Biblical values. CWA focuses on six core issues: definition of the family, sanctity of human life, education, pornography, religious liberty and national sovereignty.
The Medical Institute for Sexual Health
The Medical Institute seeks to "improve lives by enabling individuals to make informed, responsible decisions regarding sexual behavior and its effects on their health and well being." They are advocates of abstinence-only education in America's schools. (Read an interview with founder Joe McIlhaney.)
Silver Ring Thing
Silver Ring Thing is a sexual abstinence program using sketch comedy, high-tech club-style lighting and music videos to promote faith-based abstinence. Participants take a vow and wear a ring to represent their commitment to abstinence. (Listen to a NPR documentary that goes inside SRT, "With this Ring.")
True Love Waits
TLW is a grassroots international campaign that challenges teenagers and college students to remain sexually abstinent until marriage. It was created and is sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources, the world's largest provider of religious products and services. According to TLW's figures, over a million young people to date have signed covenant cards through their programs pledging abstinence until marriage. (Shelby participates in such a ceremony with her parents in the film.)
Worth the Wait (worththewait.org)
Started by an OB/GYN at Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Texas, Worth the Wait® is an abstinence sex education program that promotes abstinence as the healthiest choice for adolescents. The program reaches over 100,000 students in more than 50 school districts in Texas and other states.
Comprehensive Sex Education
Advocates for Youth
Advocates for Youth creates programs and advocates for comprehensive sex education policies. Their Rights. Respect. Responsibility.® campaign is their effort to help society get over its discomfort with talking about sex. Read their views on sex education curricula that work.
The Alan Guttmacher Institute
Founded in 1968 as the Center for Family Planning Program Development, AGI is a nonprofit organization focused on sexual and reproductive health research, policy analysis and public education. AGI publishes special reports on topics pertaining to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
American Medical Association
As the nation's largest physician's group, the AMA advocates on issues vital to public health. Their position on sex education states that the AMA "urges schools to implement comprehensive, developmentally appropriate sexuality education programs" and "endorses comprehensive family life education in lieu of abstinence-only education, unless research shows abstinence-only education to be superior in preventing negative health outcomes."
ETR is a leading publisher of comprehensive sex ed curricula and also conducts training and research on sexuality and health education. Their website features curricula on abstinence, birth control, HIV and safer sex as well as other life skills topics. Includes over 100 Spanish and bilingual materials.
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
The Kaiser Family Foundation is an independent voice and source of facts and analysis for policymakers, the media, the health care community, and the general public. Their website features materials on sex education policy and politics, teen sexual activity and their public education media projects.
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
NCPTP is a non-profit, non-partisan, non-ideological grassroots initiative to reduce the teen pregnancy rate by one-third by 2005. Their website is a great resource for statistics on teen pregnancy rates in the U.S. and state by state information.
The Planned Parenthood Federation was founded by Margaret Sanger, a pioneer of the American birth control movement. Their position is that "abstinence-only programs are inadequate to ensure sexual health." To that end they provide comprehensive education on sexuality and reproductive health to more than 1.3 million clients, according to their figures. Their website Teenwire.com is their source for sexuality and relationship information for teens.
SEX, ETC. is a national newsletter and website written by teens, for teens, on teen sexual health issues. SEX, ETC. is developed by the Network for Family Life Education, an organization that supports balanced, comprehensive sexuality education.
Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S.
SIECUS is a source for print and electronic resources on sexuality education, sexual health, and sexual rights. SIECUS offers assistance to educators, advocates, parents, researchers, physicians, and others working to expand sexual health programs, policies, and understanding.
ALSO ON PBS AND NPR
NOW: Interview with Shelby Knox
David Brancaccio interviews Shelby Knox about her years of work as a teenager in the campaign for sex education in the high schools of Lubbock, Texas. (June 17, 2005)
Religion & Ethics Newsweekly: Abstinence-Only Sex Education
One of the most difficult religious and ethical questions facing many communities — and often tearing them apart — is how the public schools should educate children about sex ... Reporter Lucky Severson examined the dilemma in Lubbock, Texas. (February 4, 2005)
Newshour Extra: Sex Education Report Stirs Abstinence-Only Debate
A report out this month by Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman of California found that many teachers who use abstinence-only education are giving false information about student's sexual health. This report and the reaction to it continue the debate over the best way to teach about sex. NewzCrew: Students speak out about sex education. (December 13, 2004)
Newshour: Abstinence Education
Fred de Sam Lazaro of Twin Cities Public Television looks at the debate over abstinence-only sex education programs in schools. (November 23, 2004)
In the Mix: Sex: Everybody's Doin' It...Not!
With all the talk, it may seem like everyone you know is having sex. And that a romantic relationship is doomed if "doing it" doesn't become part of the picture. Well, believe it or not, the majority of young people under 18 are still virgins. (2004)
Frontline: The Lost Children of Rockdale County
"The Lost Children of Rockdale County" explores how a 1996 syphilis outbreak in a well-off Atlanta suburb affected over 200 teenagers and revealed their lives unknown to parents: group sex, binge drinking, drugs and violence. Some were as young as twelve and thirteen years old. (1999)
Religion & Ethics Newsweekly: Teen Girls and Sex
A special report on the sexual pressures on preteenage girls. Parents, social critics, and many young girls themselves deplore it, but sex sells, so advertisers and entertainers use it to attract audiences. They use it without the regulation or social pressures that once were restraining forces. (April 12, 2002)
Newshour Extra: Debating Abstinence
Since when does the United Nations talk about sex? The controversial topic of "reproductive health services," better known as birth control, was one of many topics debated at the 2002 U.N. General Assembly Special Session for Children. (May 8, 2002)
Newshour: House Passes Sweeping Reform Bill
The House of Representatives Thursday approved a GOP-backed welfare package that forces recipients to work part of each week, provides $300 million for programs designed to promote marriage and offers $50 million for "abstinence only" sex education. (May 16, 2002)
To the Contrary: Teen Pregnancy
This May, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that, from 1991 to 1996, the teen birth rate in the United States declined substantially. The decline took place for girls ages 15 to 19 in all racial and ethnic groups. But despite improvements, the US continues to have a teen pregnancy rate more than twice as high as that of any other developed country. (2002)
American Experience: Kinsey
Alfred Kinsey was a little-known biologist at Indiana University when, in the 1940s, he began compiling exhaustive data from tens of thousands of interviews about the sexual practices of men and women. The results of that research were the explosive, best-selling Kinsey Reports. (2005)
The Connection: Straight Talk About Abstinence
One of the most interesting stories in the debate over sex education came from a classroom writing assignment. Mission, Texas has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the country — and so a group of girls chose to write about that. Their script became an award-winning short film called "Toothpaste." Hear from the writers. (June 17, 2005)
NPR: Special Report: Sex Education in America
A new poll by NPR, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government finds the vast majority of Americans agree that sex education should be taught in schools. (February 24, 2004)
NPR: Sex Education in Maine: Preventing Disease
A new NPR/Kaiser/Kennedy School poll on sex education shows that while more than 90% of Americans approve of sex education in schools, they don't all agree on how it should be taught. In the first of a two-part series, NPR's Joseph Shapiro takes us to a comprehensive abstinence lecture at a school in Maine, and talks with students about their impressions of it. (January 29, 2004)
WBUR: Inside Out: With This Ring, Pledging Abstinence
A kind of anti-sexual revolution is growing in the U.S. Teens across the country are pledging to be abstinent until marriage. Whether it's working depends on who you ask, and how you define success. Inside Out tracks the latest tactical maneuver in the war against the teen libido. (January 30, 2005)
NPR: Morning Edition: Texas Textbook Adoption Sparks Clash over Abstinence
The Texas Board of Education is likely to approve four textbooks on health that teach abstinence from sex without mentioning the benefits of condoms and other contraceptives. Texas buys so many textbooks, the state's version often becomes the national norm. Hear NPR's Barbara Bradley Hagerty. (November 1, 2004)
NPR: All Things Considered: Flaws Seen in US Sex Ed Programs
A recent congressional survey identified flaws in the federally funded abstinence-only education programs. The report criticized many of the programs for teaching misleading and inaccurate information about sex. California Rep. Henry Waxman called for the report and has long argued for more comprehensive sex education programs. NPR's Libby Lewis reports. (December 5, 2004)