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May 3, 2007

Parents Prefer Abstinence Education 2 to 1

Zogby Survey Shows Dramatic Shift in Attitudes
Once Parents Understand Differences
Between Abstinence and Comprehensive Sex Education

Washington, DC The National Abstinence Education Association (NAEA) today released a new survey from Zogby International showing that when parents become aware of what abstinence education vs. comprehensive sex education actually teaches, support for abstinence programs jumps from 40% to 60%, while support for comprehensive programs drops from 50% to 30%. This sharp increase in support of abstinence education is seen across all political and economic groups. As federal and state lawmakers debate funding for sex education in public schools, this new survey offers a compelling look into what parents want for their children.

These results confirm broad-based support for abstinence education, including teaching teens about developing healthy relationships and increasing self worth and self control, said Valerie Huber, executive director of the NAEA. While abstinence education has been continually misrepresented by its opponents, we were confident that parents would strongly prefer abstinence education over so-called comprehensive sex education after they received full, accurate information about this common sense educational approach.

The survey also showed overwhelming parental support for how abstinence programs permit an age appropriate discussion of contraception within the context of promoting abstinence as the healthiest choice. In line with the abstinence education approach, most parents said they want their children to be taught the limitations of condoms in providing complete protection against specific STDs and to learn how often condoms fail in preventing pregnancy based upon typical use. The majority of parents reject the so-called comprehensive sex education approach, which focuses on promoting and demonstrating contraceptive use. Sixty-six percent of parents think that the importance of the wait to have sex message ends up being lost when programs demonstrate and encourage the use of contraception.

Key Facts from the Survey This poll confirms that abstinence education is the preferred approach for the sex education of youth in America, said Valerie Huber. Zogby International conducted a telephone survey of 1002 parents of children ages 10-16. The margin of error was +/- 3.2 percentage points. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups. Access the entire survey from Zogby International here.

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