Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Pledgers vs. Non-Pledgers, No-Sex That Is

A week ago, I saw headlines all over Google News from various media outlets reporting on new findings published in the January 1st edition of Pediatrics. The headlines included "Virginity Pledges Don't Stop Teen Sex" by CBS, "Virginity pledges don't mean much" by CNN, and "Premarital Abstinence Pledges Ineffective, Study Finds" by the Washington Post. Reading the articles lead one to believe that abstinence pledge or not, all teens were equally promiscuous. The unfortunate thing is that such a conclusion is not based on the actual study used to write those articles. Here to clear up the half-truths delivered by these "elite" media outlets is William McGurn writing for The Wall Street Journal. The article can be found here. The introduction:
The chain reaction was something out of central casting. A medical journal starts it off by announcing a study comparing teens who take a pledge of virginity until marriage with those who don't. Lo and behold, when they crunch the numbers, they find not much difference between pledgers and nonpledgers: most do not make it to the marriage bed as virgins.

Like a pack of randy 15-year-old boys, the press dives right in.

"Virginity Pledges Don't Stop Teen Sex," screams CBS News. "Virginity pledges don't mean much," adds CNN. "Study questions virginity pledges," says the Chicago Tribune. "Premarital Abstinence Pledges Ineffective, Study Finds," heralds the Washington Post. "Virginity Pledges Fail to Trump Teen Lust in Look at Older Data," reports Bloomberg. And on it goes.

In other words, teens will be teens, and moms or dads who believe that concepts such as restraint or morality have any application today are living in a dream world. Typical was the lead for the CBS News story: "Teenagers who take virginity pledges are no less sexually active than other teens, according to a new study."

Here's the rub: It just isn't true.

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