Virginity pledges lower out-of-wedlock births

.- A new study from The Heritage Foundation has found that young women, who take an abstinence or virginity pledge, are about 40 percent less likely to have a child outside of marriage, reported Focus on the Family.

The Heritage Foundation study used numbers from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which started in 1994, and then followed the kids into early adulthood. Heritage Foundation analyst Kirk Johnson co-authored the report with Robert Rector.

Johnson said the study indicates that abstinence education is critical in delaying the start of sexual activity.

"If we can teach adolescents the benefits of waiting," Johnson said, "we can help build stronger families and better communities here in the United States."

The study seems to conflict with other recent reports, which suggest that abstinence pledges are often broken. Linda Klepacki, manager of abstinence policy at Focus on the Family, said pledges need to be backed up with education.

"Abstinence education," she said, "helps to teach the characteristics that need to be in place in order to fulfill an abstinence-virginity pledge." She added that abstinence education should continue in Christian colleges and universities.

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