Abstinence Education

When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.

Mark, Twain, “Old Times on the Mississippi,” Atlantic Monthly, 1874

Abstinence education advocates abstinence as the 100% sure way to prevent pregnancy and the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The U.S. teen pregnancy rates have been decreasing since the 1990s, but of all of the developed countries in the world, the United States still has the highest teen pregnancy rates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that approximately 19 million new STDs occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages ...

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