Friday, April 13, 2007

The Fruits of Abstinence Policies

Accrue to those running these policies in terms of money. The Bush administration abstinence policies have allocated $1.5 billion to such programs, and what have they achieved?

A recent study done by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. suggests that they have achieved nothing in terms of behavior. Zilch. Zero.

The study compared the behavior and knowledge of students who had had abstinence education to the behavior and knowledge of students who had not had such education but who were otherwise comparable in the statistical sense. The results tell us that abstinence education didn't in these samples lead the young people to engage in more dangerous sex. This is good news, because an earlier study suggested that it might. The abstinence program participants also had a slightly better understanding of the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases.

But the rest of the study findings are awful for the Bush administration. Look at what all that money gets us (click on the graph to make it bigger):

Of course what might matter more in the party-political sense is that this money went to people with certain opinions.