‘Project Reality’ Lacking Grip on Reality

Last month, Right Wing Watch detailed Focus on the Family’s attempt to blindly attribute the correlation between declining teen sex rates to the promotion of abstinence-only education. As we pointed out, correlation does not necessarily mean causation.

A news release from the abstinence-only education organization Project Reality continues the shoddy statistical analysis, detailing the overlapping decline in the teen pregnancy rate among 10-14 year olds with the increase in abstinence-only education. Project Reality’s director comments:

Here is yet another piece of evidence proving that authentic abstinence education IS working… These statistics reinforce what we’ve known all along, that teens respond to a positive abstinence message when it is given to them.

Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America, who has been vocal in criticizing access to contraception, sings the same song, writing in a recent op-ed:

This is further evidence that abstinence programs are having an impact, that they are making a difference for teens — including children as young as 10 years of age… How, in good conscience, can a supposedly-responsible adult support public policies that would communicate to such girls and boys that ‘safe-sex’ is an appropriate option?

Taking a look at Project Reality’s own chart, however, one might notice another potential factor correlated to the declining pregnancy rate, the increase in federal funding for contraceptive programs. A recent Columbia University study seems to bear out Project Reality’s chart, citing improved contraceptive use as the primary factor for the declining teen pregnancy rate.