Globe columnist Ellen Goodman discusses the failure of abstinence-only education that was advocated and funded by the Bush Administration for the past eight years. After spending $1.5 billion on such programs around the country, research shows what most non-ideologues already knew: abstinence-only does not work.
The latest study, from Johns Hopkins, of teens who took virginity pledges -- which is one way the government measured their policy as working -- "found absolutely no difference in their sexual behavior, or the age at which they began having sex, or the number of their partners." The only difference? Those who pledged abstinence were less likely to use birth control.
So what did we get for our money? More pregnant teens. That is what happens when, as Goodman says, we pay for "an ideology in search of a methodology." The good news is that the war on science, truth and reality that has been waged for eight years will end in 17 days. The bad news may be that the damage done is so great that it will take years to recover.