One hallmark of the religious fundamentalism of the George w. Bush White House has been the obsessive emphasis on sexual abstinence for American teens. Government funding followed a mantra that abstinence programmes were good and deserving of public funding, birth control and planned parenthood counselling were the work of Satan and deserving of public scorn.
As in so many credos of the fundamentalist knobs, the abstinence platform has backfired. Another study, this one just released by the John Hopkins Medical Center, finds that premarital abstinence pledges simply don't work. From the Washington Post:
The new analysis of data from a large federal survey found that more than half of youths became sexually active before marriage regardless of whether they had taken a "virginity pledge," but that the percentage who took precautions against pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases was 10 points lower for pledgers than for non-pledgers.
The study seems to reinforce research showing that Red States have earlier marriages, shorter marriages, more divorces, more unwed prenancies and more STDs. Maybe it has something to do with all that Bible Thumping.