Study: 82 Percent of Americans Support Comprehensive Sex Ed

Reuters reports on a University of Pennsylvania study that shows the vast majority of Americans support comprehensive sexuality education, which includes education about contraceptives as well as abstinence.

Of the nearly 1,110 U.S. adults they surveyed, 82 percent supported programs that discuss abstinence as well as other methods for preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Half were in outright opposition to abstinence-only education.

Even among self-described conservatives, 70 percent supported comprehensive sex ed., while 40 percent opposed the abstinence-only strategy.

The findings “highlight a gap between policy, and science and public opinion,” said Dr. Amy Bleakley of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and lead author of the new study.

As Reuters notes, this is in stark contrast with the policy of the Bush administration, which spends “around $170 million each year” on abstinence-only programs. “This funding precludes mention of birth control and condoms, unless it’s to emphasize their failure rates,” the article notes. These programs, championed by the far Right, have been found to convey medically inaccurate or misleading information, and some are used to promote religion. (“The condom’s biggest flaw is that those using it to prevent the conception of another human being are offending God,” read the web site of the Louisiana Governor’s Program on Abstinence.) The administration has also pushed abstinence-only funding in its global AIDS effort, and has recently expanded its domestic programs to reach out to adults.