D.C. Bi-Partisan Briefing on Abstinence Education Focuses on Teen Health
Medical Doctors See Abstinence Educators as Partners in Prevention
BI-PARTISAN BRIEFING ON ABSTINENCE EDUCATION IN DC FOCUSES ON TEEN HEALTH. Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL) and Congressman Lee Terry (R-NE) co-sponsored a bipartisan briefing on the benefits of abstinence education on Capitol Hill 25July06 to discuss the issue of abstinence from a health perspective. Event speakers included Gladys Desselle, RN from Providence Hospital in D.C., Julie Laipply, brain-based learning and curricula development expert and Rashida Jolley, former Miss DC and member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.
This was the first co-sponsored bipartisan briefing on the abstinence issue on Capitol Hill.
“We are proud that Congressman Davis from Project Reality’s home state of Illinois supports abstinence as the only 100% effective way for teens to protect themselves physically and emotionally from the risks of pre-marital sex,” stated Libby Macke, director of Project Reality.
In Congressman Davis’ district alone, approximately 5,300 students from 28 schools and agencies are served annually with Project Reality’s abstinence education programs, Game Plan and Navigator, funded by the Illinois Department of Human Services. The Congressman has met with and commended Project Reality spokesperson, 16-year-old Taylor Moore, for the work she does with Project Reality on the abstinence issue.
“It is clear from the positive response to this briefing that both sides of the aisle can agree that abstinence is the safest and healthiest lifestyle for teens,” stated Macke. [Press Release, Project Reality, 07-20-06, http://www.projectreality.org/news/index.php?newsid=44; Abstinence Clearinghouse E-Mail Update, July 26, 2006]
MEDICAL DOCTORS SEE HEALTHY RESPECT AS PARTNERS IN PREVENTION. Abstinence programs such as Healthy Respect are on the front lines in the battle against sexually transmitted diseases in teens, said Dr. Marilou Corpuz [Chief, Infectious Diseases at OLM Medical Center in the Bronx, NY]. Teens usually do not visit a doctor until after symptoms appear or they fear they are pregnant, Dr. Corpuz explained.
“Teens are reluctant to talk about sex with a doctor, so we usually don’t see them until after the fact. We wish we could be there with information and advice before the damage is done, or before they start engaging in sex,” she said.
“Programs like Healthy Respect are able to reach teens before they become sexually active, or get them to think about the reality and the risks if they are having sex. Healthy Respect starts teens thinking and talking about these issues when they still have a choice about what to do.”
Peer pressure, television, the media and pop culture can overwhelm teens with sexual messages, said Dr. Corpuz, but Healthy Respect can serve as a counterweight that helps young people make good decisions for their future.
“Teens are bombarded today by the media, especially in New York,” she said. “It’s important that they know the other side, or that there even is another way of looking at things.” [Press Release, Healthy Respect, 07-06-06, http://www.healthrespect.org/doctorsseeHRaspartners.shtml; Abstinence Clearinghouse E-Mail Update, July 26, 2006]