Study: Sex Ex Budget Cuts Reduce Teen Pregnancy Rates

teen couple pregnancy testCommentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

The conventional wisdom that teen pregnancy rates are reduced by promoting birth control and “safe sex” suffered a serious blow in a new study by British researchers which found empirical evidence to support the fact that reductions in sex education budgets has resulted in lower teen pregnancy rates.

According to The Catholic Herald, a study conducted by Nottingham University Business School Professor David Paton and Liam Wright, a research assistant at the University of Sheffield, found that budget cuts to sex education classes may have contributed to lower rates of teenage pregnancy in England.

The study, which will be published in the July, 2017 issue of the Journal of Health Economics, found that after sex education budgets were slashed, teen pregnancy rates fell by 42.6 percent.

“There are arguments to suggest that the impact [of the cuts] on teenage pregnancy may be not as bad as feared and, indeed, that spending on projects relating to teenage pregnancy may even be counterproductive,” they wrote in the Journal.

“Put simply, birth control will reduce the risk of pregnancy for sex acts which would have occurred anyway, but may increase the risk among teenagers who are induced by easier access to birth control either to start having sex or to have sex more frequently,” they wrote.

The authors are suggesting that policymakers could use available funds more productively by investing in programs that focus on the underlying causes for teen pregnancy, such as poverty and level of education rather than on sex-prevention programs and providing youth with more access to birth control.

This report is already having an impact on this side of the pond.

As Fox News reports, “The publication of Paton’s study comes at a time when the debate over U.S. funding for prevention programs is heating up after the Trump administration released its budget, which eliminates the Teenage Pregnancy Prevention program. That program received $101 million from the government in the 12 months ending Sept. 30.”

The Department of Health and Human Services justified the cut by arguing that the teenage pregnancy rate “has declined significantly over recent years, but it does not appear this program has been a major driver in that reduction.”

This development is likely to cause even more angst at Planned Parenthood, a major recipient of Teenage Pregnancy Prevention program funds. The nation’s largest abortion provider brags about providing sex education to more than a million youth but they impact even more on their teen website which features instructions on masturbation, how to have sex and remain a virgin, how to “come out as a trans” and where to find support for “coming out.”

This study points to the need for a new way to approach the problem of teen pregnancy and get rid of the “conventional wisdom” about sex education and contraception that has failed too many of our nation’s youth.

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