Because of our Powerful Choices lessons in the classrooms of our community the number of youth indicating that they choose to remain abstinent until marriage is increasing.
A few examples of recent actual comments from girls and boys in 8th grade:
“I want to go into my marriage with a clean slate.”
“The best reason for me is not wanting to ruin my life and wanting to go to college and getting a job first.”
“Because when we’re younger we take (more) risks”
“To not do something I would regret later.”
“So that you can save yourself for your husband or wife and prevent STDs.”
“Why is abstinence so important?” is a question often asked by well meaning parents.
#1- Youth and their parents and the community benefit when teens remain abstinent.
Years of research show that when a teen starts any one risk behavior they soon become sexually active, and when sexually active they also soon start other risk behaviors. The opposite has been noted in research about the effects of abstinence programs; youth who pledge abstinence until marriage are less likely to participate in smoking, drinking, drugs, bullying, and taking physical risks like driving fast.
The cost of teen childbearing is the other part of this reason #1.
From a report by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy:
“Teen childbearing in Iowa cost taxpayers at least $83 million in 2010. Most of the public sector costs of teen childbearing are associated with negative consequences for the children of teen mothers, during both their childhood and their young adult years. www.The National Campaign.org/costs
#2- Many lives are saved from abortion and youth from the devastation of STIs
There is no such thing as safe protection. While I was with Aid to Women I wept with many who were pregnant and had “used protection”. The rate of reportable sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among Iowa teens remains high along with other related negative consequences such as depression. In 2013 more than 70% of the bacterial infections Chlamydia and Gonorrhea reported in Iowa were among youth aged 15 to 24. For 15-19 year olds the rate was 1,451 per 100,000 teens. These diseases are easily overlooked with many teens having no symptoms. EY staff and board members are alarmed for youth who think they can be safe while being sexually active. Research results of condom use show that even when consistently used, 50% of bacterial STIs are transmitted. Sexually active teens are most vulnerable to life-time damage of their reproductive systems from these diseases; not to mention the emotional and social scars from having other STIs. With the numbers of youth choosing abstinence, the increased rate of cases of STIs in 15-19 year olds indicates just how easily a newly active teen can be exposed to such an infection. http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/sexualbehaviors/index.htm
Thank you for caring about the work we do. Without your donations and prayers we could not continue to available through this summer to our challenged youth.