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11 May 2004

Abstinence-only sex education increases pregnancy, abortion and STDs

George Monbiot urges parents in the UK to resist the coming onslaught of "virginity" campaigns from the US. Conservatives' ruthless return to the worst excesses of Victorian values not only do not work, but they make the very problems they are designed to fight become worse. Distorted reporting by the compliant media is used to hide this embarrassing fact. Don't be fooled - sex education and openness about contraception, plus a safety net to offer teenage girls economic alternatives, are the shining successes of the teen-age pregnancy prevention story. On the other hand, the climate of shame and fear surrounding "abstinence-only" programmes lead to higher rates of unwanted pregnancy, abortion, poverty and AIDS.

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