ABC: Abstinence Still Not an Effective Means of Birth Control
ABC's Jay Schadler effectively explored the unglamorous lives of teen parents in his June 23 “Primetime” special but couldn't keep from knocking abstinence programs while doing so.
Schadler noted in his report that “nearly 750,000 girls will become pregnant in
Clips of a comprehensive sex-ed class taught in
Schadler said of this approach, “This kind of sex education presumes teens may have sexual intercourse, and nationwide, 6 out of 10 do, so the best way to protect them is to prepare them.” He failed to note that half of all teenage pregnancies in
The game played in
Instructor Tonya Waite, who is also director of the East Texas Abstinence Program, told Schadler, “I just get so fed up with it when I hear adults saying what are you teaching abstinence education for? They're not going to do it anyway. You know, they're just a bunch of animals. You know, we just protect them the best we can. That's not protecting them. That's putting them at higher risk.”
Waite further defended abstinence-education in a companion article on ABC's website. “I think [teaching abstinence as the only 100 percent preventative measure] is more truthful. I think that we educate kids like that on tobacco, on drugs, on alcohol, on cigarettes. And I don't understand why we don't take that same concept with sex.” Schadler did not include this statement in the broadcast.
Schadler's special itself may have done more for the prevention of teen pregnancy than any school program. The teenage parents it featured, deprived of “normal” teen experiences such as prom and high school graduation, and living with increased responsibilities had the very real notion that their childhood is over.