Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Media Bias! Media Bias!

Mona Charen takes offense at all those folk who reacted as might be expected to the late news about abstinence-only programs not actually, well, working -- and, as might be expected, she claims they do so work, it's just that that lousy liberal media refuses to reported on all the many millions of studies that prove they work.

Well, okay. One study:

Yet the results of a new study showing that abstinence programs do work to reduce sexual behavior get only two hits on Nexis -- one a UPI story and the other a PR Newswire item. So much for the idea that the media are no longer dominated by liberals.

Then we read a little further into her column, and we find out that it's one program, and it's having some success in keeping some girls off some drugs and (maybe -- because remember this is self-reported, by those same 13 year old girls) sex until they get to be 13 years old.

Wow, Mona! I'm convinced!

[T]he Journal of Adolescent and Family Health has just published a carefully crafted study of the Best Friends program and found that it does, in fact, deliver on its promise -- to promote abstinence from sex, drugs and alcohol among its school-age participants.


Best Friends girls do not sign pledges, but do commit to abstinence through high school graduation.

The results of the program have been dramatic. Compared with District of Columbia girls of comparable age, income, race and family structure examined in the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey (YRBS), Best Friends girls were eight times less likely than others to use drugs. They were six times less likely than YRBS girls to engage in premarital sex. Among eighth-graders, 65.6 percent of Best Friends girls abstained from alcohol, compared to only 37.3 percent of YRBS youngsters.


And what you want to notice is missing from that list? How many of these Best Friend 13 year olds actually did abstain from sex -- or rather, actually did claim they were abstaining from sex.

Yep, Mona. This stuff works. I believe you.

But you know what? Just the same? I'd like my kid taught abstinence-plus sex ed. If you don't mind. And just in case. Same way I'd like her using seat belts in cars, even though I'm sure she won't be driving drunk, or speeding, or any of that stuff, because I know she promised me she wouldn't.

Because I'm not an idiot, that's why.

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