Five Years of Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Education: Assessing the Impact [PDF]
Name of Program: Minnesota Education Now and Babies Later (ENABL)
Federal Funding Source: Section 510(b) of Title V of the Social Security Act (the state entitlement for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs established under "Welfare Reform" in 1996)
Funding Allocated: In 1996, the Minnesota legislature authorized and funded the Minnesota Department of Health to administer Minnesota Education Now and Babies Later (MN ENABL). Two years later, the state's Department of Health received federal abstinence-only funds through Section 510(b) of Title V and set up the Minnesota Abstinence Education Community Grant Program, based on MN ENABL. In 2003, the programs were merged and called MN ENABL.
In federal fiscal year 2003, the federal government allocated $613,756 in Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage funds to Minnesota. The state allocated an additional $460,317 in state funds to support the initiative, bringing the total allocation to the program in federal fiscal year 2003 to $1,074,073.2 From 1996 (when the initiative began) through 2002, over five million dollars from state and federal sources was allocated to the program.
Program Reach/Program Components: Since the program's inception, 117 grants were awarded for programs reaching 45,500 junior high students.
The goal of MN ENABL was to reduce adolescent pregnancy by decreasing the number of adolescents who engage in sexual activity and by promoting abstinence-until marriage. The program was based on the curriculum Postponing Sexual Involvement (without the contraceptive information included in the original program) and included: the curriculum promoting abstinence-only; community organizing activities, including community forums to promote abstinence and youth development, informal presentations, and networking; and statewide and local media campaigns.
Target Population: Middle school youth in grades seven and eight (ages under 14)
Timing of Program/Evaluation: 1998 to 2002
Evaluation Design: Pre- and post-intervention surveys with follow-up one year later; survey data from five school sites among students who had attended ENABL (n=468) and who also completed the follow-up survey one year later (n=316). Generalized comparisons were drawn using data from the 2001 MN Student Survey (a youth risk behavior survey).
Findings: The program increased the reported frequency of communication and helped youth feel more comfortable talking with their parents about sex. "There was little impact of the curriculum on youth's attitudes, sexual intentions, and behaviors after one year." Specifically, the percentage of students who endorsed three of four refusal skills declined significantly in the year following the curriculum. The percentage of students who endorsed reasons to postpone sex also declined significantly. Significant increases in sexual intentions and behaviors occurred.
Significant Quotes from Authors of the Evaluation Study:
- There is concern about the ability of the initiative to reach students and families of color. The profile of the core group members over
the years was predominately female (85%) and White (89%). [p. 10]
- It is noteworthy that Minnesota has among the lowest rates of Caucasian teen pregnancy in the nation, but the highest rates for African
American, American Indian and Hispanic populations. [p. 10]
- The weaknesses that surfaced in the evaluation results reported here were not due to treatment implementation failure, but to the
constraints of the treatment itself. [p. 10]
- Based on the findings it appears that a comprehensive approach provides the most promising prevention of teen pregnancies and
STDs. [p. 10]
Return to Introduction
Hauser D. Five Years of Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Education: Assessing the Impact. Washington, DC: Advocates for Youth, 2004.