‘Evidence-based’ as opposed to ‘abstinence-only’ education
In a wildly radical move, the Obama administration has decided that the best way to prevent teen pregnancy is to teach teens using programs that have been proven to prevent teen pregnancy. Wait, what?
These hilariously named “evidence-based approach” programs just got $114 million worth of funding from the federal budget. I’m unclear on how that will effect the $250 million in the health care bill that was designated for abstinence-only programs, which should hereby be named the “what-does-the-word-’evidence’-mean?” approach.
On NPR this morning, All Things Considered highlighted a program run by Michael Carrera that provides age-appropriate information to kids from 5th grade through high school. In a study that followed the high school kids in Carrera’s program compared to a control group, 10% of the Carrera girls got pregnant, as opposed to 22% in the control group. Those kids were more likely to use contraception not only to prevent pregnancy but also to protect themselves from STIs.
Carrera’s program costs money– about $2,500 per kid. But that’s a hell of a lot less than the cost of a child. Good on the Obama administration for starting to undo some of the damage from the highly ineffective (and slightly creepy) abstinence programs of the Bush years.