But you could argue that the evidence points to the value of a combined approach, that far from being mixed, the messages belong together: experts argue that the combination of more kids delaying sexual activity and more use of contraception once they become sexually active has accounted for the drop in teen pregnancies and abortions over the past 15 years. Maine Middle schoolers, like kids all across the country, are already postponing sex longer: The percentage who reported having sexual intercourse dropped from 23% in 1997 to 13% in 2005, according to the Maine Youth Risk Behavior Survey. While rates of sexually transmitted disease remain alarmingly high, the best chance of attacking the problem would transmit the values and the facts together, rather than implying that the two are at odds.

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