America, the land of extremes, boasts of almost a thousand no-sex-till-marriage organizations. Take for example the abstinence program-Virginity Rules . Its brand ambassador beautiful teen Jami Waite, has been an emblem of sexual abstinence for the group, which has risen from a single operation in Longview, Texas, to become an eight-county abstinence franchise.
People can be abstinent, and its not weird, Waite declares.
Yet, for the first time, however, Virginity Rules and 700 such abstinence education programs are fighting serious threats to their future. Eleven state health departments rejected abstinence education this year, while legislatures in Colorado, Iowa and Washington passed laws that hamper its presence in public schools.
Opponents of the motion were overjoyed when the most extensive study of abstinence education, found no sign that it delayed a teenagers sexual debut.
This June, the abstinence programs received their first cut in financing from the Senate appropriations committee since 2001, though the final outcome is still in question.
At the same time, it is observed that teenagers throughout the country are both abstaining more, and, especially among older ones, more likely to use contraception when they do not abstain.
While the reasons are not all understood, government data show the trend began years before abstinence education became the multimillion-dollar enterprise it is today. Through a combination of less sex and more contraception, pregnancy and birth rates among American teenagers as a whole have been falling since about 1991.
Texas, however, has seen the smallest decline despite receiving almost $17 million in the name of virginity. And, no state has more to lose in this battle than Texas, which draws more abstinence money than any other. Very common here are billboards showing teens declaring slogans like: No is where I stand until I have a wedding band.
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