Does true love wait?
Fourteen percent of participants in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health who had taken a virginity pledge had a nonmarital birth; the proportion was twice as high among their counterparts who had not taken a pledge. (1) In an analysis by the Heritage Foundation, the difference could not be attributed to teenagers' family structure or income, religiosity, self-esteem, school performance or race. When these factors were controlled for, pledgers had 40% lower odds of giving birth out of wedlock than non-pledgers. According to the analysts, the findings "strongly suggest" the potential of abstinence education programs to positively affect young people's behaviors and life outcomes.
(1.) Johnson KA and Rector R, Adolescents who take virginity pledges have lower rates of out-of-wedlock births, Washington, DC: The Heritage Foundation, 2004.