States Promoting Abstinence Full of Babies

by Liz Colville

The CDC released a report today of state-by-state teen pregnancy rates, and the differences from region to region are stark. Women’s health advocates are sounding off about why this may be, and one theory, supported by Planned Parenthood national education director Leslie Kantor, is that “comprehensive, evidence-based” sex ed programs, taught in states with lower teen pregnancy rates like Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, are more successful at preventing teen pregnancies than abstinence-based sex ed programs. Another study seems to back up those claims: the Guttmacher Institute recently found that “all five states with the highest teen birth rates have adopted policies requiring that abstinence be stressed when taught as part of sex education, HIV education or both.” Only one of the five, New Mexico, requires sex education be part of the curriculum.

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