Shelby Knox grew up as a conservative Southern Baptist in Texas turned progressive activist and documentary film subject. She recently graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Political Science. Throughout her college career, Shelby traveled across the nation as a reproductive rights activists to speak to young people about the importance of comprehensive sex education and the power of youth activism, using the film that carries her name, The Education of Shelby Knox, as a vehicle for discussion.
The Washington Post reported today that at least 14 states have turned down federal funds to teach abstinence-only-until-marriage programs:
The number of states refusing federal money for “abstinence-only” sex education programs jumped sharply in the past year as evidence mounted that the approach is ineffective.
At least 14 states have either notified the federal government that they will no longer be requesting the funds or are not expected to apply, forgoing more than $15 million of the $50 million available, officials said.
Reproductive rights activists from the University of Washington found that adolescents who receive comprehensive sex education are significantly less likely to become pregnant than adolescents who receive abstinence-only-until-marriage or no formal sex education. The study, based on a national survey of 1,719 teens ages 15 to 19, is the first population-level evaluation of the effectiveness of both abstinence-only and comprehensive sex education programs. The results are very promising for comprehensive sex education.
According to Pamela Kohler, the study’s lead author, “It is not harmful to teach teens about birth control in addition to abstinence.”
This study joins a host of others that prove that abstinence-only does little and comprehensive sex education does much for our teens.
Reporter Murray Waas’ article asks “why an organization that promotes reproductive health rights for teens received a federal grant of over a million dollars, twice what it had requested, despite the skepticism Department of Justice staffers had about the group and the fact that it refused to participate in a congressionally mandated study?”
The organization is “Best Friends,” and the congressionally mandated study they refused to participate in is presumably this one — the April 2007 study that presents clear evidence that abstinence-only-until-marriage programs don’t work.