Tuesday, May 24, 2005

More on Silver Ring Thing

Allright, nevermind that Silver Ring Thing seems to be violating rules against using federal money to promote religious beliefs, this group, which is supposed to be acting in the best interests of the people who participate in the program, is distorting sound science to the detriment of the very people it is supposed to be helping.

From the CBS 60 Minutes report Taking the Pledge:

Pattyn doesn’t just preach the virtues of sexual abstinence. His show is full of negative messages about condoms – messages warning that condoms won’t protect kids from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

"We spoke with some of the kids after the show in Fort Meyers and they said that going into the program they thought that condoms did work, but your show convinced them that they didn’t," says Bradley to Pattyn.

"Right. Well, that’s good because we believe that condoms aren’t the answer," says Pattyn.
So to be clear, this group is not simply promoting abstinence, it is also actively discouraging the use of condoms.

"Pledging will help them delay sex for, say, 18 months — a year and a half," says Bearman. "It's a big deal in the lives of teenagers. Eighteen months is a phenomenally long time. It’s almost two school years."

So what's the downside?

"The downside is that, when they have sex, pledgers are one-third less likely to use condoms at first sex," says Bearman. "So all of the benefit of the delay in terms of pregnancy-risk and in terms of STD acquisition -- poof -- it just disappears because they’re so much less likely to use a condom at first sex.
And Bradley also notes that 88% of participants who take the pledge end up breaking the pledge. How can the continued funding of such programs be justified?

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