Based on a recent study, there would appear to be a word to describe many teenagers who take pledges to remain virgins until marriage: Parents.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that teens who have made the pledges are just as sexually active as those who don't.

More dangerously, the findings revealed that the virginity pledgers are less likely than others to have safe sex, thereby exposing themselves to the risk of pregnancy and disease.

The government has been wasting about $200 million of our tax dollars every year on abstinence-only education, which includes virginity pledges.

Instead of learning about ways they can keep from having unwanted pregnancies and acquiring what used to be politely referred to as a "social disease," kids are apparently saying no to "just say no."

Gee, who would have thought that teenagers and young adults would wind up having sex?

Apparently not the geniuses in Washington who proved that making government policy to please a religious right constituency is a very bad idea.

The researchers compared the sexual behavior of 289 teenagers who said in a 1996 national survey that they had taken a virginity pledge with 645 teens who said they didn't.

Five years later, as stated in a CBS report on the study:

82 percent of pledgers denied ever having taken the pledge.

Pledgers and matched non-pledgers did not differ in rates of premarital sex, sexually transmitted disease, or oral or anal sex behaviors.

Pledgers had, on average, 0.1 fewer sexual partners in the past year but did not differ from non-pledgers in the number of lifetime sexual partners and the age of first sex.

We're certain that the vast majority of teens who make a pledge to refrain from sex are sincere when they sign on, but the reality is that to keep knowledge of contraception away from them is irresponsible and morally indefensible.

Young people are going to be curious about sex. Hormones being what they are, many are going to have sex. Tragically, some of those are going to get venereal diseases and AIDS because they weren't educated about condoms and other ways to protect themselves. Some are going to get pregnant when they had no intention of doing so.

Barack Obama has indicated that his administration will stop the madness of federally funded

abstinence-only "education."

That's well and good, but it's important for young people in our area to be as informed as possible, and that is the responsibility of parents and others who really care about them.

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