An aritcle on the Florida Independent website [**edit July 24, 2017: original article gone] caught my eye as most do with the words "rexamine", "rethink", and "study the effects of" in the title in conjunction with "Abstinence Only".
Then I run into websites like this [**edit July 24, 2017: original page gone; updated to new page] where they tried to say that abstinence only is working because teens are reporting that they're not fucking as much as they used to. Key words "have never had vaginal intercourse" were abundant. You were probably a teenager once, too.
Is the point of abstinence only to prevent teenage pregnancy or is the point to stop all premarital sex between minors? Even if they don't have access to the Internet or a television, kids do have access to magazines, books, and more imporantly, their peers. They're going to learn, one way or another, how to prevent pregancy.
Teen pregnancy might be lowering in some places where abstinence only is taught, but it does not mean they've completely stopped fucking. They're just getting smarter. Sort of. The preventative measures they're coming up with often include anal and oral sex, and very little in the way of disease prevention.
Let's compare two countries that are "right next door" - Canada and the United States. Sex education in Canada is quite straight forward: This is how you get pregnant, this is how you keep from conceiving, and these are the diseases, oh, and by the way, some of them are quite fatal or incurable, so here's how you prevent those too. Birth control is obtainable without parental consent, and some places offer condoms and the pill at a discount or provide them freely. The general consensus is that unless the hormone-driven children are locked up and never left alone with one another, eventually some of them are going to be fucking. It's better that they're educated and have prevention access.
In the United States, there is an absurd number of school districts teaching "abstinence only", usually driven by religious persons who think that teenagers won't screw if they're told not to before they're married. Let's look at [original link is broken] this data. The data showed live births per 1000 girls, aged 15 - 19 in countries around the world. This is live births and does not count the instances where there was an abortion or miscarriage. Out of 100 countries, the United States was ranked at 53 with 58 live births per 1000 aged 15-19. Canada came in at 88 with just 16. [**edit July 24, 2017: worldbank.org has updated data for 2015 here. For 2015, the USA had 21 live births per 1000 and Canada was down to 9.]
First world countries, right next door to one another, that many people see as being hardly different from one another. Teen pregnancy rates in the USA is comparable to countries like Iraq, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. The glaring difference is that in those countries, teen mothers are often already married.
In the United States, there is a propensity toward the illusion of sexual purity while at the same time preventing minors from entering into legal marriage in order to make it okay to have sex. You cannot have it both ways. Unless you monitor your children 24/7 under literal lock and key, this will never be a thing. Even the religious, who drive abstinence only "education" and purport to have a good handle on their kids' activities, are either not paying attention or are downright delusional. If you look at data by state, a pattern emerges quickly: States with abstinence only sexual education have the highest rates of teen pregnancy.
It's a bit ironic. I'm one of the first people to say that teenagers need to focus on school and figure out what they're going to do to with their lives before having children. That said, they're having sex, and have had since we crawled out of the primordial soup. They should have access to factual sexual education, birth control, protection from disease, and protection from arbitrary age of consent laws that have the potential to jail consenting near-adults for something people have been doing for countless generations. The age of consent thing applies only to the USA in this comparison. Canada's consent laws are more realistic.
I got a better deal growing up in Canada than I would have had I grown up in the USA. My mom, who is religious to an extent, was realistic and frequently said, "I believe you should wait until you're married or in a very committed relationship before having sex, but I can't stop you short of locking you up, so I want you to be safe." She understood that what she wanted my sister and I to do with regards to sex was very different than what was likely to happen, and so she was a realist about it.
Knowledge regarding the consequences of irresponsible sex is required. All birth control options should be presented, including the fact that abstinence is a great way to prevent pregnancy and disease, assuming no one ever gets raped. Which they do, so it's not a catch-all measure, unfortunately. Just because kids have the knowledge to protect themselves from undesirable consequences, it doesn't mean that they're automatically going to sally forth and fuck.
If you want to instill a sense of importance on sexual purity until marriage or at least having reached the age of consent, then do so: At home. Don't cripple the education system because you want to deny reality. And before you start going on about how sex education should be taught at home and not in schools, consider this: the only reason educators felt the need to teach kids about sex and prevention in schools is because you were not doing it at home in the first place!
Ignorance and denial fail every time. Abstinence only "education" is rife with inconsistencies and falsehoods. You may be skeptical about that, which is why I'm going to direct you here - science wins!