Responses – Advocacy / Dating / Instruction & Teaching Abstinence

Abstinence Act & Letter Defining Intent of Law (2003)

At the 13 Feb 2003 AL State Board of Education meeting, the complete text of the 1992 law, which requires that Abstinence be taught and emphasized, was added to the Alabama Health Course of Study for public school students. ALABAMA LAW (Regular Session, 1992) Act No. 92-590 S.72 AN ACT     To require public schools in Alabama to emphasize responsible sexual behavior and prevention of illegal drug use in those programs and curriculum that include instruction on such subjects. To specify the minimum contents to be included in that instruction; and to outline conduct that is improper or unlawful for school-age children. Be It Enacted by the Legislature of Alabama:  Section 1. (a) The Legislature finds that: (1) Pregnancy and childbirth among unmarried adolescents, particularly young adolescents, often results in severe adverse health, social, and economic consequences, including: a higher percentage of pregnancy and childbirth complications; a higher incidence of low birth weight babies; a higher frequency of developmental disabilities; higher infant mortality and morbidity; a decreased likelihood of completing school; a greater likelihood that an adolescent marriage will end in divorce; and higher risks of unemployment and welfare dependency. (2) Drug and alcohol abuse diminish the strength and vitality of the young people of our nation and state; an increasing number of substances, both legal and illegal, are being abused by increasing numbers of school children, even at the grade school level; abuse of any substance causes human behavior that influences many forces, including school, family, church, community, media, and peer groups. Prevention and early intervention in such behavior requires cooperation and coordination involving strategies designed to respond to carefully defined...

HHS Study: Abstinence Education is Effective (HHS,6/05)

A new study released 14June05 by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and completed by a contract with Mathematica Policy Research, Inc, reveals that abstinence education works. According to the interim report, teens who participated in abstinence programs had an increased awareness of the potential consequences of sexual activity before marriage, thought more highly of abstinent behaviors, and had less favorable opinions about sexual activity before marriage than did students who were not in abstinence programs. The federal government only began funding abstinence education relatively recently, as part of the 1996 welfare reform. The feds did something unusual when they funded abstinence education; a long-term study of the program was simultaneously authorized to track whether the programs made a positive difference in teenagers’ lives, as proponents expected. A Department of HHS-funded study, started in 1998, tracked 2,310 students; 60 percent were assigned randomly to an abstinence-based program, and the rest were assigned to control groups. The results are now in: Teens in abstinence programs are more likely to hold strong views in favor of sexual abstinence and against out-of-wedlock sexual relations than their counterparts who were not enrolled in abstinence-based programs. Those enrolled in the programs also were far more likely to understand the negative consequences of sex outside of marriage. “Students who are in these [abstinence education] programs are recognizing that abstinence is a positive choice,” HHS Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation Michael O’Grady said. “Abstinence education programs that help our young people address issues of healthy relationships, self-esteem, decision-making, and effective communications are important to keeping them healthy and safe.” Leslee J. Unruh,...

Abstinence: Reality Check – White House Stands Firm On Abstinence

WHITE HOUSE STANDS FIRM ON ABSTINENCE: — senior political advisor, Karl Rove, said the White House does not support current attempts by liberal members of Congress to funnel the new $15 billion AIDS initiative to groups that rely on abortion and condoms. Mr. Rove reiterated what the President has previously said himself: in fighting AIDS, our nation must fund groups that promote abstinence and monogamy, the only methods that are 100% successful in preventing the spread of AIDS. However, through a drafting error in Rep. Kolbe’s (R-AZ) appropriations subcommittee, these critical provisions have been overturned, and if allowed to stand would turn the AIDS initiative into a $15 billion condom “airlift” to Africa. We are encouraged that Mr. Rove made it clear that the president does not support this hi-jacking of the AIDS initiative, but this will require Congressional leaders to correct the mistake before it is sent to President Bush. If not, we expect the President to veto the...

Virgins Come Forward To Promote Abstinence Education (8/02)

Thousands of virgin teens and young adults are coming forward in record numbers to say, “I’m worth the wait.” The teens are turning in their stories, quotes and pictures to the Abstinence Clearinghouse to be published on the website, the “Faces of Abstinence” book, and for consideration to be featured in the “Faces of Abstinence Calendar.” Ms. Unruh said that these pro-abstinence publications will be taken to Congress, to show the policy makers who the average teen really is. The 2001 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey found that more than 54 percent of students, grades 9 through 12, have never been sexually active.1 Another study found that most of those who have had sex, wish they had not.2 Further, nearly all teens (93 percent) have said that teens should be given a “strong message” that they should abstain from sex.3 “A wedding ring is what to wear when you are planning on safe sex!” proclaimed Ellie Brito, a twenty-something college student & abstinence proponent. “That is what should be taught in our schools.” Molly Donnermeyer, a 17 year-old Teen Abstinence Advocate and high school senior from Kentucky, advised that “students should be taught to abstain from sex until marriage because it teaches them to respect their lives. They need to know all the facts concerning sexual activity including condom failure rates, STDs, and even how wonderful it will be when you wait until marriage,” she continued. “Teens who abstain will be happier over all because they are free from feelings of guilt and worry over disease and pregnancy. Premarital sex can change a life forever, it’s a big decision.”...

For Title V Funding (5/02)

For Title V funding are: “Abstinence Education” – an educational or motivational program which – “(A) has as its exclusive purpose, teaching the social, psychological, and health gains to be realized by abstaining from sexual activity; “(B) teaches abstinence from sexual activity outside marriage as the expected standard for all school age children; “(C) teaches that abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other associated health problems; “(D) teaches that a mutually faithful monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the expected standard of human sexual activity; “(E) teaches that sexual activity outside of the context of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects; “(F) teaches that bearing children out-of-wedlock is likely to have harmful consequences for the child, the child’s parents, and society; “(G) teaches young people how to reject sexual advances and how alcohol and drug use increases vulnerability to sexual advances; and “(H) teaches the importance of attaining self- sufficiency before engaging in sexual activity.” [AbstinenceE-mail Update Special Edition 24May...

Bush Welfare Budget

“This is a well-thought-out budget,” said Wade Horn, assist sec for children/families at HHS. The administration’s 2003 budget, reveals White House positions on the 1996 welfare reform law, which is set to be renewed this year in Congress. The budget maintains the core $16.5 billion TANF grant to states and reinstates two funding streams that had expired — a $319 million a year program for supplemental grants and a contingency fund worth $2 billion over five years. Child-care funding remains at $4.8 billion for the second year, as does state flexibility to use $4.7 billion in other programs for childcare. Also maintained is the $50 million a year Title V abstinence-education grant. Title V, plus other White House proposals to spend $73 million in a community-based abstinence education program and $12 million in the Adolescent Family Life Program, amounts to $135 million for abstinence education. This funding fulfills a campaign pledge President Bush made to create “parity” between funds for sex education and abstinence education, HHS officials said. (A 33% increase over this year’s funding level of $102 million [Meckler, AP/Raleigh News & Observer, 1/31]. Federal funding for abstinence programs comes from the 1996 Welfare Reform Act ($50 million), the 1981 Adolescent Family Life Act ($12 million) and HHS grants ($73 million). [Meckler, AP/Nando Times, 1/31; Kaiser].) Horn said the budget makes a “very dramatic change” regarding TANF’s $100 million illegitimacy bonus fund, created to reward states that lowered their unwed birth ratios. Now the fund will be a “research-demonstration and technical-assistance fund, focused on family formation and healthy marriage issues,” he said. “We will be funding innovative approaches...

President Bush

He wants a 33% increase in the budget for Abstinence Until Marriage (AUM) programs. “Abstinence is the surest way, and the only completely effective way, to prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted disease. When our children face a choice between self-restraint and self-destruction, government should not be neutral.” – President G.W. Bush, while detailing his welfare reform plan,...