Study: Consent Laws Reduce Teen Sex

AFA Journal 17 Nov 06
(AgapePress) – According to a new study, abortion notification and consent laws actually reduce risky sexual behavior among teenagers. The finding is the result of data collected from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and examined by Jonathan Klick, Florida State University College of Law professor, and Thomas Stratmann, economics professor at George Mason University.

The men used gonorrhea rates as an indicator of risky sexual activity and compared them to parental notification laws that were in place at the time. By doing so, they discovered that teen gonorrhea rates decreased by an average of 20 percent among Hispanic girls and by an average of 12 percent among white girls in states where consent laws were practiced.”Incentives matter,” Klick said. “They matter even in activities as primal as sex, and they matter even among teenagers, who are conventionally thought to be short-sighted.

If the expected costs of risky sex are raised, teens will substitute less risky activities such as protected sex or abstinence.” Where these consent laws are in place, it is hard for teen girls to avoid telling their parents about an unexpected pregnancy. Therefore, the laws function as an incentive for girls to engage in less risky sex activities since they do not want to face their parents with news of a pregnancy or plans for an abortion. As a result, there was a decrease in gonorrhea among girls younger than 20.

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