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Bruce Cook – President & Founder of Choosing the Best
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Atlanta, December 8, 2011 — A recent analysis by researchers at the University of Georgia, titled “Abstinence-Only Education and Teen Pregnancy Rates:  Why We Need Comprehensive Sex Education in the U.S.” draws faulty conclusions and offers little help or insight into the complex problem of teen pregnancy and how to solve it. The UGA researchers classified states according to their laws about sex education and found that states that had laws or policies emphasizing abstinence had, on average, higher teenage pregnancy and birth rates while those whose policies emphasized comprehensive sex education had the lowest teen pregnancy rates. The researchers used this correlation to draw a faulty conclusion that abstinence education was actually causing higher pregnancy rates, violating basic research protocol against using correlations to claim causation. In fact, the study’s lead researcher, Kathrin Stanger-Hall admitted, “Because correlation does not imply causation, our analysis cannot demonstrate that [states] emphasizing abstinence causes increased teen pregnancy.”

Evaluating states based solely on their sex education laws or policies is problematic, because the degree of implementation of those laws varies widely within and across states. In actual practice, no state can be categorized as strictly “abstinence-only” or “comprehensive sex ed-only” and thus it is impossible to draw conclusions based on the laws of a state alone.

According to Bruce Cook, President and CEO of Choosing the Best, “The best way to evaluate the true effectiveness of any sex education program is still to conduct research on a particular program, comparing results in a treatment vs. a control group. Choosing the Best has two such studies that confirm the programs are effective.” An independent research study of a Choosing the Best middle school program indicated that it reduced teen sex by 47%.”  Additionally, a recent study of Choosing the Best JOURNEY, for high school students, indicated that Choosing the Best students who were virgins at the pretest were significantly less likely than control group virgins to report onset of sexual behavior by the time of the post-test (i.e. end of 9th grade).  For more information about research results forChoosing the Best, please visit