Abstinence Pledge Works; Female Infanticide

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January 16, 2001

A recent study shows teenagers who have made abstinence pledges are delaying sexual relations longer than virgins who have never taken a pledge. Abstinence groups and many church efforts promote the pledge movement. True Love Waits coordinator, Jimmy Hester, said, “This study is really the first one that provides strong data that proves that pledges do make a difference.” Sociologists, Peter Bearman and co-author Hannah Brueckner, wrote the report after analyzing data from a survey given to thousands of children in seventh through twelfth grade. Mr. Bearman believes, “The delay effect is substantial and robust. Pledging delays intercourse for a long time.” According to the report, pledges seemed most effective on “more religious” teens that made the oath at the age of 16 or 17. They also work best when teens consider the signers to be a “special group”-which gives them a unique identity. The study also notes that those who broke their pledges were less likely to use contraception. Despite that finding, Mr. Hester of True Love Waits believes abstinence groups should not be compelled to provide information on contraception and that their promotion of strict abstinence before marriage is appropriate. He says that their purpose is to focus on those teens that they can convince to wait, rather than on those who are “not going to keep the pledge anyway.”

Female Infanticide
The Chinese government has a new goal to continue restricting births for the next fifty years. The State Family Planning Commission released The White Paper on Population in December. The White Paper shows that the goal is a population of 1.6 billion people in the year 2050. The Chinese people have been limited for the past twenty years, to one child to urban families and two to farmers if the first child is a girl. A Weekly Briefing by the Population Research Institute states, “The one-child policy itself is the most oppressive regime of birth control ever inflicted by a government on its people. Parents are denied the right to determine for themselves the number and spacing of their children, and women who get pregnant outside the plan are subject to threats, fines, and even brute force.” G. William Skinner, an anthropologist and China specialist at the University of California-Davis, and Chinese researcher Yuan Jianhua presented comprehensive data, at an annual meeting of the Association for Asian Studies, that shows female infanticide has reached the proportions of an epidemic due to traditional family patterns combined with China’s population-control measures. Close to 800,000 baby girls were abandoned or killed in a single region between 1971-80 alone.

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