By Jim Sedlak
The US government’s Department of Health and Human Services pushes a large number of teen pregnancy prevention programs. It even has a website devoted to this effort and publishes on this site success stories and independent evaluations of the programs.
One of the most popular programs is called the Teen Outreach Program. TOP is a group-based youth development program that includes a minimum of 25 curriculum sessions and 20 hours of community service learning. A crucial part of TOP is the development of supportive relationships with adult facilitators as well as relationships with other peers in the program.
Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest was one of the implementers of the TOP program and wrote its experiences as a “success story.” The last paragraph of the PP report reads:
“As an evidence-based intervention, TOP™ has been shown to decrease pregnancy, suspension, and school dropout. Through PPGNW and their partners’ implementation of TOP™, almost 2,000 youth per year have received TOP and given back to their communities through their CSL projects. In addition to program delivery, PPGNW is conducting a randomized controlled study with Philliber Research Associates, and they are hopeful that they will see positive outcomes as they continue into the fifth year of implementation.”
The same website that contains the PP success story now has the results of the Philliber Research Associates’ study of PPGNW’s implementation of TOP™ PRA finds that,
“after offering the program over nine months to middle and high school students during or after school, TOP youth were as likely as youth offered a four-hour alternative program to report causing a pregnancy or becoming pregnant, having sexual intercourse, or having recent sexual intercourse without an effective method of birth control both immediately following the conclusion of the program, as well as in an assessment occurring 12 months later. However, TOP® affected males and females in the study differently. Immediately after the program, TOP males reported lower rates of causing pregnancies than males receiving the alternative program, whereas TOP females reported becoming pregnant at a higher rate than females receiving the alternative program.”
Did you process that last sentence? Middle and high school girls who took the Planned Parenthood sponsored version of the TOP program became pregnant at a higher rate than other girls! To be fair, none of the published evaluations of the TOP or other programs showed any real positive results, but this program implemented by PPGNW was the only one in which the evaluators noted that girls who took the course were more likely to get pregnant. You’ve got to give it to Planned Parenthood; it finds ways to make a bad program even worse.
Of course, it will disgust you even further to find that we (the taxpayers) actually paid PPGNW $4 million a year to implement this program. As Planned Parenthood stated, it is now in the fifth year of offering the program, so that means that 20 million dollars has been spent on a teen pregnancy prevention program in which girls who took the course are getting pregnant more frequently than girls who did not take the course.
Can anyone say ridiculous?
So how does Planned Parenthood justify all the money it gets from us?
Jim Sedlak is executive director of American Life League and founder of STOPP International. Planned Parenthood Federation of America has identified Jim as one of the “most active” fighters against its sex education programs.