The study does no such thing. In fact, the two groups studied were chosen specifically to match in their religious characteristics - so it would be impossible to show that teens from religiously conservative backgrounds lead to greater teen pregnancy and STDs (which also goes against all other research in this area.)
The takeaway for parents, Healy says, is to pursue a holistic approach, not a one-time shot deal: “The focus should be on cultivating the teenager’s ongoing home and social environment, rather than on eliciting a one-time, easily forgotten promise.”The Wall Street Journal is right to call foul on the press for oversimplifying the story and playing down the substantial differences between the religious teens in the study and the rest. But McGurn fails to mention one of the study’s key conclusions: that teenagers from conservatively religious backgrounds tend to forego birth control when they do have sex, leading to greater incidence of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Even worse, the Pediatric study did compare the two groups in regards to their STD status, and I quote from the abstract:
Now maybe expecting a journalist to read all twelve pages of the study, which is available for free online, might be asking too much, but she should at least of read the abstract. Clearly she did not. However, this does not stop her from making this far-reaching conclusion:
Pledgers and matched nonpledgers did not differ in premarital sex, sexually transmitted diseases,
In the precede to the study, the researchers note that “the US government spends more than $200 million annually on abstinence-promotion programs, including virginity pledges.” The goal of these programs matches that of comprehensive sex ed approaches: to reduce teen pregnancy and the spread of STDs. The problem is, as the study’s findings strongly suggest, only one method works. It’s too bad that the WSJ chose to side with a moralistic, ineffective approach, instead of a science-supported, value-neutral one. Teens may be teens, but journalists should know betterAnd journalistic critics? The author has no idea what this article even tries to prove, let alone if her conclusion is supported by the evidence.
Journalists will be journalists, and it is very sad that they seem more clueless than the average teen. Actually, I'm sorry about that last sentence - it was unfair. I owe an apology to teens everywhere.