President Obama vs. Bristol Palin on Abstinence-Only Education

May 8, 2009 7:44am

Unwed teenage mother Bristol Palin might be out there talking about abstinence, but President Obama isn’t buying abstinence-only education.

Two $100 million programs from his predecessor’s budget pushing abstinence only are casualties in President Obama’s $3.55 trillion budget proposal.

The President is replacing them with $110 million “for teenage pregnancy prevention programs that have been proven effective through rigorous evaluation," as spelled out on pages 490 to 495 of the budget appendix.

Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., applauded the move, saying "eliminating funding for ineffective abstinence-only programs is a win for science. The Obama budget proposal invests in programs that are effective and based on sound science, rather than wasting millions of dollars on efforts that have been proven to be ineffective at best."

Palin, meanwhile, told GMA’s Chris Cuomo that "regardless of what I did personally, I just think that abstinence is the only way you can effectively, 100 percent foolproof way you can prevent pregnancy."

She didn’t have an answer readily available when pressed on how her personal story squares with the abstinence only campaign she’s pushing.

"I’m not quite sure, I just want to go out there and promote abstinence and say, this is the safest choice," she said. "This is the choice that’s going to prevent teen pregnancy and prevent a lot of heartache."

A recent study in the journal Pediatrics indicated that teenagers who make "virginity pledges" to remain chaste until marriage are no less likely to engage in premarital sex but significantly less likely to use birth control.

"Taking a pledge doesn’t seem to make any difference at all in any sexual behavior," Janet E. Rosenbaum of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health told the Washington Post. "But it does seem to make a difference in condom use and other forms of birth control that is quite striking." 

– jpt

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