National Teen Condom Give-Away Actually Increased Teen Pregnancy

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The first results of a study conducted to discover whether the massive condom give-away in junior-high and high schools over the past quarter century has had any effect on teen pregnancy are in.

And it is not good news for teen pregnancy.

A new study published this month by the National Bureau of Economic Research shows “…clear evidence that access to condoms in schools leads to an increase in teen fertility.” In fact, counties that gave condoms away to teens experienced a 10 percent increase in teen pregnancy.

The great teen condom give-away began in the 1990s as a response to the HIV-AIDS scare. School districts all over the country followed the lead of the massive New York and Los Angeles school districts after they began giving away thousands of condoms in 1991 and 1992. Condoms were given away by nurses and counselors and also in vending machines and baskets.

According to a new study, “previous empirical work on the effects of school condom distribution programs has focused on take-up, condom use, and sexual activity.” Regarding take-up, previous studies have shown an average of one condom picked up per student per year. According to the new paper, the problem with nearly all studies on the effects of condom use among students is they have been methodologically flawed and therefore not reliable.

Religious conservatives have long-argued that condoms given to young people would inevitably lead to more and riskier sexual behavior. They were typically mocked, as was their solution to teen pregnancy, abstinence.

The researchers argue that the pregnancy rate went up mostly where condoms were distributed without counselling.


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