Does Abstinence Work?
Just because for the past couple of weeks I really, really, really wanted my online connection to work properly, does not mean it actually did. [Apparently there was a problem with the cable box; I now have a new one.]
And just because various government officials issue [curiously similar] pronouncements about how well abstinence works to prevent pregnancy, does not mean it actually does.
The president, in his July 2002 remarks to South Carolina high school students, said "Let me just be perfectly plain. If you're worried about teenage pregnancy... abstinence works every single time."
According to Wade Horn, assistant secretary of Health and Human Services in charge of federal abstinence funding, when it comes to sexual education
"We don't need a study, if I remember my biology correctly, to show us that those people who are sexually abstinent have a zero chance of becoming pregnant or getting someone pregnant..."
On the issue of abstinence health department spokesman Bill Pierce said
"One thing we do know about abstinence is that if you practice it, you will not have an unintended pregnancy..."
Kids and kidettes, pay attention: When it comes to abstinence we have no data on its typical-use* effectiveness. In other words, based on the available evidence [as opposed to belief, wishful thinking, and/or ideology] we don't know how well this birth control method does [or does not] work.
*Researchers have two different ways of measuring the effectiveness of contraceptive methods. "Perfect use" measures the effectiveness when a contraceptive is used exactly according to clinical guidelines. In contrast, "typical use" measures how effective a method is for the average person who does not always use the method correctly or consistently.
[R]esearchers have never measured the typical-use effectiveness of abstinence. Therefore, it is not known how frequently abstinence fails in the real world or how effective it is compared with other contraceptive methods.
(American Street link via Pharyngula)