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Report: “Just Say No” Doesn’t Work for Idaho Sex Ed

November 9, 2007

Boise, ID – The more teens know, the more likely they are to say "no" when pressured to have sex. That's according to a new study from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy that tracked the effectiveness of sex education programs. It found that an "abstinence until marriage" curriculum doesn't change teen behavior, even though more than $600,000 of Idaho tax dollars have funded this type of program.

Hannah Saona, with the ACLU of Idaho, believes it's time to spend tax money more effectively.

"What kids need, and what the ACLU has always promoted, is comprehensive information, including abstinence, information about contraceptives and information about STDs."

Douglas Kirby, author of the new safe-sex report, says the research also produced some good news about what really works to help teens postpone sex and reduce risky behaviors.

"The programs that had the best levels of success were comprehensive sex education programs that emphasize abstinence as the best approach, but also do encourage condom and contraceptive use for young people who do have sex."

Congress is considering spending $100 million more on "abstinence only" sex education. Critics of programs that include about birth control discussion say bringing it up as an option encourages teens to have sex -- but the study found that is not the case.

Deborah Smith/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - ID