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New study: Abstinence pledges do not reduce teen pregnancy rate

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Teens who pledge not to have premarital sex are not cutting their risks of either pregnancy or catching a sexually transmitted disease. At least, that’s the conclusion of a study in the Journal of Marriage and Family.

The study followed thousands of teens nationwide from ninth grade through young adulthood. Authors found 88 percent of those who took the pledge eventually had premarital sex.

When it came to sexually transmitted diseases, the likelihood did not fluctuate.

F. Scott Christopher is a professor and researcher at Arizona State University. He says this doesn’t surprise him – especially since many of the young people are from Christian backgrounds or belong to Christian churches.

“There’s nothing wrong with that,” he said. “But it does leave them unprepared when faced with a sexual situation.”

Christopher says good education — including accurate information on birth control — is the key to preventing both teen pregnancy and STD’s.

“Knowledge, by itself, is not linked to actually engaging in sex,” he said.

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