This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," March 30, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight, the battle over teaching public school children how to handle sex. Most of the American media does not like the abstinence-only approach. The cheerleader for that point of view is Newsweek columnist Anna Quindlen who wrote, "There has always been a covert place in which many opponents of condom distribution really settle. It's called Fantasyland."
Quindlen consistently encourages public schools to make sexual material and birth control available to the kids. As usual, she would not appear this evening, because she is not a woman who enjoys debate. And that's what our guests would give her.
Joining from us Charlotte, North Carolina, Elaine Bennett, the president of the Best Friends Foundation, a youth development program centered in Washington, D.C.
Now, you believe that abstinence-only sex ed does work?
ELAINE BENNETT, PRESIDENT, BEST FRIENDS FOUNDATION: I know it works, Bill. I've been in the field for 22 years. I've worked with over 1,000 D.C. inner-school students and 3,000 nationwide. And I have the research.
O'REILLY: And what does the research say?
BENNETT: The research proves, without a doubt, that 91 percent of our students feel that abstinence was the best choice. They're proud that they're abstinent. They say their friends respect their decision.
We know that only 10 percent of our students in D.C. public school are sexually active, as compared to 30 percent of the D.C. middle school students and about 48 percent of the high school students.
We know they're getting our message. We know they are actually listening. And we know they're sharing the message with their friends.
O'REILLY: But how is this set up? How is your abstinence teaching set up? In D.C. the pregnancy rate for girls age 15 to 19 has fallen by more than 50 percent from 1991 to 2006, right?
BENNETT: That's wonderful. It's a wonderful success story.
O'REILLY: OK. And you attribute that to what?
BENNETT: I have to attribute it to the advent of abstinence education.
O'REILLY: Why not — why not...
BENNETT: The mayor has supported this.
O'REILLY: Why not distribution of condoms? That would prevent pregnancy, too. Why would you just say abstinence only?
BENNETT: Because The CDC in Atlanta has given us the research that showed that in '91, 71 percent of D.C. students were sexually active. In 2005, 48 percent were sexually active. There's been a 30 percent drop in sexual activity. That's not due to condom distribution.
O'REILLY: OK. But what is the — see in D.C. public schools, it's not abstinence-only teaching.
BENNETT: Well, then we have quite a few abstinence programs. Ours is the largest, and has, as I've said, been active for 22 years. We've been in almost all the middle schools and D.C. public schools. This message is a strong one. It is also supported by D.C. government.
O'REILLY: Why do you think...
BENNETT: ... which is unusual.
O'REILLY: Why do you think that Anna Quindlen, who's also a big pro-abortion woman, why do you think they don't like your approach?
BENNETT: Well, I think it doesn't square with what they want. It doesn't square with the Planned Parenthood approach that comprehensive sex ed, comprehensive condom distribution, contraceptive education is the only approach, because they don't believe that teenagers and adolescents have the ability to say no.
O'REILLY: So you think it's just a practical matter with Ms. Quindlen?
BENNETT: No, it's a philosophical matter, Bill. You know what the liberal elites are all about. They don't really want to provide choice. They're not interested in supporting the 51 percent of students who are not sexually active. They have a mindset that, well, it's unrealistic.
O'REILLY: Why would they want — why would they want kids to have sex? Why? What's the upside of that for them?
BENNETT: Bill, I don't think they want kids to have sex. But I think they believe that, in this, as she has used the word "fantasyland," that it is inevitable that teenagers will have sex. I don't think they spend enough time in the public schools to know differently.
O'REILLY: See their expectations — their expectations are lower than your expectations. So it looks like an expectation thing.
O'REILLY: Well, I want to mention that I have been associated with Ms. Bennett's charity, Best Friends Foundation, for a number of years. And it does excellent work mentoring children and doing all kinds of stuff.
And we really appreciate it, Elaine. Thanks for coming on today.
BENNETT: Well, we appreciate you. And you've been a terrific supporter, and our students have great admiration for you, Bill.
O'REILLY: Thank you.
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