Nine "Comprehensive" Sex Education Programs Not Focused Enough on Abstinence, Use Misleading Statements on Condoms, HHS Report Notes
Parents Speak Up
Abstinence Works! Major National Study Shows
Abstinence Education Under Attack
Groups Mark Teen Pregnancy Day, Respond to Attacks on Abstinence Education
ACLU, et al, Issues Biased Attack Against Abstinence Education
Brave New Schools: 'Have Sex, Do Drugs' Speaker Tells Students
Congress Should Mind Their A's and B's on AIDS Prevention
Drop in U.S. Teen Sexual Activity (Pregnancy, Birth, Abortion) Rates
New Polling Data Shows Parents Overwhelmingly Support Abstinence Education
Authentic Abstinence Education Funding Update…
Chastity “a mystic virtue for those who have chosen it and perhaps the most superhuman use of sexuality.”
— Pier Vittorio Tondelli, Italian author
“COMPREHENSIVE” SEX EDUCATION IS INEFFECTIVE: NINE COMPREHENSIVE SEX EDUCATION PROGRAMS NOT FOCUSED ENOUGH ON ABSTINENCE. Six of nine widely used "comprehensive sex education curricula" contain medically inaccurate statements.
A cursory review of the study shows that the materials distributed by the "comprehensive" programs mention abstinence only 321 times. In contrast the same materials mention usage of condoms 2,763 times – and only mention condom failure rates a total of 23 times!
The study showed these programs have very little impact on increasing condom use among children, and even less impact in delaying sexual activities – the latter being no surprise considering the focus on condoms instead of abstaining. Sen. Coburn (R-Okla.) and former Sen. Santorum (R-Pa.) two years ago requested that HHS conduct the report.
The analysis was performed by the not-for-profit Sagamore Institute for Policy Research and the Medical Institute for Sexual Health, which advocates that adolescents and adults abstain from sex "until committing to a lifelong mutually monogamous relationship such as marriage".
PARENTS SPEAK UP. On 21June07, Dr. John Agwunobi [HHS Assistant Secretary for Health] and Dan Schneider [HHS acting Assistant Secretary for ACF] announced the Parents Speak Up National Campaign to encourage parents to talk to their kids about sex, their values, and how delaying sexual activity until marriage can contribute to their future happiness and success.
"During my time as a pediatrician and a public health official, I've learned that parents often need additional tools when dealing with tough issues facing their children. There are few issues tougher or more important to discuss than sex." explained Dr. Agwunobi.
"The 'Parents Speak Up' campaign was developed based on research that indicates youth look to their parents for guidance when it comes to making decisions about sex," said Dan Schneider. "When families encourage open communcation, and teens live in an environment where values are clearly expressed, they are more likely to follow those values."
In addition to advertising, which includes tv, radio, print, outdoor, and interactive banners, the campaign encourages grassroots community involvement. Three Outreach Centers are raising awareness of and support for the campaign in the African American, Hispanic, and Native American communities.
[According to a 2005 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, survey, about 1 of every 3 ninth-graders has had sexual intercourse at least once. A 2007 survey by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (recent name change to "National Campaign") found that 60 percent of teens who have had sexual intercourse wish they had waited.]
The Parents Speak Up Campaign should be applauded for recognizing that any true education for children must come from their parents and promote the family.
HHS also unveiled the revised www.4parents.gov website, which offers parents resources to help them speak to their children about a variety of risky behaviors. [KaiserNetwork.org, Lee, Washington Post, 6/21; FRC, 21June07]
HHS Parents Speak Up Campaign: http://opa.osophs.dhhs.gov/SpeakUp_Campaign1.pdf
www.4parents.gov (watch the video commercial)
"Even more troubling, the bill's language completely abolishes the A-H criteria, which ensure that grants are awarded only to programs proven to uphold its strict abstinence-until-marriage standards. Without the A-H criteria in place to safeguard the money for abstinence-only curriculum, conservative programs would be forced to compete for their own mone y with the likes of Planned Parenthood–whose coffers are already brimming with hundreds of millions of your tax dollars. "Obviously, this is a blatant attempt to suffocate abstinence programs and create more cash pots for programs whose only solution to promiscuity, teen pregnancy, and disease is to dismiss behavioral changes like partner reduction and offer instead unreliable contraception. Call your senators and encourage them to reinstate the A-H criteria and practice abstinence when it comes to doling out additional funds for value-free sex ed." [FRC Washington Update, 26June 2007]
ABSTINENCE PROGRAMS CONTINUE TO GET THE SHORT END OF THE APPROPRIATIONS STICK FROM THE NEW CONGRESS. "According to reports, the latest version of the Senate Labor, Health, and Education Committee spending bill slashes abstinence funding by a whopping $28 million. Although the bill provides enough money for the current programs to continue, it precludes new organizations from applying for Community Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) grants.
"Even more troubling, the bill's language completely abolishes the A-H criteria, which ensure that grants are awarded only to programs proven to uphold its strict abstinence-until-marriage standards. Without the A-H criteria in place to safeguard the money for abstinence-only curriculum, conservative programs would be forced to compete for their own mone
y with the likes of Planned Parenthood–whose coffers are already brimming with hundreds of millions of your tax dollars.
"Obviously, this is a blatant attempt to suffocate abstinence programs and create more cash pots for programs whose only solution to promiscuity, teen pregnancy, and disease is to dismiss behavioral changes like partner reduction and offer instead unreliable contraception. Call your senators and encourage them to reinstate the A-H criteria and practice abstinence when it comes to doling out additional funds for value-free sex ed." [FRC Washington Update, 26June 2007]
DEMOCRATS AIM TO KILL ABSTINENCE-ONLY PROGRAM FUNDING Democrats long skeptical that abstinence-only programs are more effective than "comprehensive" sex-ed classes are trying to reverse Bush administration policy and kill a key entitlement program for abstinence-only funding set to expire Jun. 30.
Democrats leading the House Energy and Commerce Committee say they won't take action to reauthorize the provision because recent studies — including one released last month that concludes that students in abstinence-only and sex-ed classes are equally active sexually — prove abstinence-only just doesn't work.
“Abstinence-only programs simply do not reflect reality,” said Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., who blames an ideology-driven agenda by the Bush administration for pumping dollars into failed abstinence-only programs.
“The facts should drive the president’s policy, not his stubborn ideology,” DeGette added.
But Republicans on the committee, say they are working with a handful of Democrats to make sure Section 510 of Title V of the Social Security Act is reauthorized by week's end. Sources say a similar debate is going on in the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction in that chamber over Title V.
“I don’t understand the dynamic, but the hard, pro-abortion groups have really come out in the last few years and attacked abstinence education. They’ve picked on things and really blown them out of proportion,” said Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., told FOXNews.com.
The decade-long debate over the efficacy of abstinence-only began in 1996, when the funding was awarded as part of the welfare reform bill. First awarded in 1997, the State Abstinence Education Program provides abstinence-only education to groups of student considered at high-risk of out-of-wedlock births.
Funding through Title V, which provides $50 million in federal matching funds to states that apply for it, is used to teach students that sexual activity outside of marriage is not only dangerous and could result in unwanted pregnancies, but also that abstinence and monogamy are healthier approaches to relationships.
Abstinence education supporters contend that their programs have resulted in lower teen extramarital sex, fewer out-of-wedlock births and happy teens overall. They charge that so-called “comprehensive” sex-ed programs are just how-to courses designed to make teens feel good about being sexually active and more curious by emphasizing condoms and not abstinence.
“Ultimately, it’s a values thing — what message do you want to impart to the young people of our country? That it’s only pleasure?” said Christine Kim, an abstinence policy expert with the Washington, D.C.-based Heritage Foundation. She said that available studies show that high school students who abstain from sex are more likely to do better academically, are less inclined to be depressed or suicidal, are more likely to graduate college and less likely to have sexually-transmitted diseases.
But opponents say that on its own, abstinence-only programs are no longer welcome. They add that abstinence can be taught as part of a comprehensive curriculum that also includes information about contraception — better known as "safe-sex" education.
No Studies for People Who Want to Prove Something
According to the national statistics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teen pregnancy is down dramatically from the early 1990s. More sexually-active students are using condoms and fewer high school students overall are engaging in sex — 47 percent in 2005, down from 54 percent in 1991.
However, none of the studies completely substantiate either side of the abstinence debate.
The May study used by Democrats on the committee and others had been conducted for the Department of Health and Human Services and followed a group of high school students over the course of four years.
The results from Mathematica Policy Research Inc., which conducted the study, found that students who went through abstinence-only programs were no less likely to be sexually active in the four to six years after participating in the one-time study, and in fact, had similar numbers of sexual partners and had initiated sex at the same age.
Click here to read the results of the Mathematica study (pdf).
At the same time, according to the study, students participating in the safe-sex classes, which typically weigh heavily on teaching condom use, were as likely to engage in unprotected sex as students in abstinence-only courses.
"The study finds that the sexual abstinence of students in four (abstinence) programs selected for the study was much the same as that of students who did not participate in these programs," said Christopher Trenholm, project director for Mathematica. [one-time abstinence training; programs used in the study were the first, early programs which have since been improved and updated]
While neither side can point to the study to demonstrate which program is better or worse, supporters of abstinence-only programs refer to a 2005 study in the District of Columbia that found that middle school girls participating in the Best Friends abstinence-only program were less likely to engage in high-risk sexual behavior than their peers who did not participate in the program.
A recent poll of parents by Zobgy International found that 59 percent want more money to go to abstinence education, while 22 percent want more funding for comprehensive sex education.
Backers of those safe-sex programs say teens need a realistic prevention program and abstinence-only leaves them "uninformed" about the consequences
of unprotected sex. Supporters of the "comprehensive sex" approach say abstinence should be taught alongside other lessons about contraception, sexually-transmitted diseases and sexuality overall.
A May review conducted by the Administration for Children and Families and the Health and Human Services Department found that the majority of nine such programs include much less discussion on abstinence and committed, monogamous relationships than on instructions about how to purchase and use contraceptives. Real life failure rates of condoms and contraceptives were rarely mentioned in these safe sex programs.
Terry said if abstinence-only programs are at least as effective as comprehensive sex-ed in keeping kids out of the back seat, then the debate really comes down to dollars.
A 2004 Heritage Foundation study shows that government funding for sex-ed to abstinence-only programs is $12 to $1. In 2002, the government spent $1.7 billion on contraception-related funding, compared to only $144 million in total abstinence funding. According to the analysis, $653 million of the funding for contraceptive-related sex-ed went to teen education programs.
Sex-ed supporters "want to eliminate the one (dollar)," Terry said. "None of us are standing up and saying 'eliminate the 12 (dollars)' — we're just saying there are other options out there."
Despite the House Energy and Commerce Committee's commitment to kill Title V, the House Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee passed a spending bill in June that includes an increase for the non-related HHS' Community-Based Abstinence Education Program to $144 million, compared to a $109 million allocation in fiscal year 2007.
Reports indicate the increase was approved to get Republicans on board with the fiscal year 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies spending package and it was not clear whether the monies would make it through the full committee mark-up, expected after the July 4 recess. [26 June 2007, By Kelley Beaucar Vlahos, DC, FoxNews, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,286671,00.html]
ABSTINENCE WORKS! MAJOR NATIONAL STUDY SHOWS. One of the largest and most comprehensive studies of teen sex education, conducted by Dr. Stan Weed of the Institute for Research and Evaluation in Salt Lake City, shows why abstinence is the most successful method of preventing physical and emotional complications resulting from pre-marital sexual activity. The study (see http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2007_docs/CompSexEd.pdf) followed the education and behavior of over 400,000 adolescents in 30 different states for 15 years.
The final report, entitled “Abstinence” or “Comprehensive” Sex Education? begins by pointing out the flaws in a national study on abstinence released by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. Conducted in April 2007, this previous study examined the progress of teens who participated in four different abstinence education programs. The final report indicated that abstinence education was ineffective and that young adolescents should receive “comprehensive” sex education, that is, sex-education that teaches about various sexual behaviors and “safe-sex” methods.
After examining the Mathematica study’s methods, the Institute found several major errors that made the study non-representative of American sex education. First, says the more recent study, it took sample teens from “high-risk” sectors of the population, such as poor African or American single-parent households. During the study, young people received abstinence education in pre-adolescence, but then received no follow-up training during adolescence. They were also examined about their sexual activity several years after any learning might have taken effect.
A report has been released exclusively to the National Abstinence Clearinghouse by Dr. Stan Weed in response to a Mathematica Study (released in April 2007) which claimed that abstinence education was not effective in preventing premarital sex.
The report by Dr. Weed is based on his work with over 400,000 youth in over 30 states throughout the last 15 years and proves without a doubt that abstinence until marriage education truly does work.
To view this study, please visit: http://www.abstinence.net/library/index.php?entryid=3210
[Press Release, Abstinence Clearinghouse, 8 June 07]
Dr. Stan Weed told LifeSiteNews.com: “Within the United States, sexual activity rates have been going down among teenagers for about the last 12 or 13 years, and that coincides with when the abstinence education started. Abortion, pregnancies and out of wedlock births rates have also been going down among teens during that same time period.
"However, pregnancy, abortion and out of wedlock births have been rising for the older age group, between 19-25, a group that has not been targeted by abstinence programs.”
Outlining these limitations and the report’s inaccuracies, Dr. Weed highlighted the problems that sexually active teens encounter and the failure of “comprehensive” sex education to remedy such issues. These include teen pregnancy, STDs, and poor emotional health. Sexually active young people are also more often physically assaulted or raped.
“Comprehensive” sex education also fails to explain the limitation of condoms, said the recent study, pointing out that “many consequences of teen sexual activity are not prevented by condom use.”
Condoms are never a total guarantee against STDs, and so there is no kind of truly “safe” sex outside of marriage. Secondly, despite 20 years of sex education, young people even fail to use condoms consistently. Most importantly, however, condoms do nothing to prevent the heartbreak, depression and low self-esteem caused by sexual activity.
The Utah Institute researchers also investigated
previous major studies on “comprehensive” sex education and found that these programs had little impact on the behavior of teens during their education and no long-term effects whatsoever. In fact, “of 50 rigorous studies spanning the past 15 years, only one of them reports an improvement in consistent condom use after a period of at least one year.”
When evaluating abstinence programs, the Institute investigated both high-risk and moderate-risk students in programs such as Reasons of the Heart, Heritage Keepers, Sex Respect and Teen Aid. Students in these programs were far less likely to be sexually active and those who were, reduced their sexual activity by a large percentage.
In the Reasons of the Heart study, for example, researchers found that “adolescent program participants were approximately one half as likely as the matched comparison group to initiate sexual activity after one year. The program’s effect was as strong for the African American subgroup in the sample as it was overall.”
The most successful abstinence programs were those that emphasized the risk of pre-marital sexual activity. They showed how abstinence fully protects a young person from STDs, teen pregnancy and emotional trauma. They underlined the importance of self-control and responsibility and gave students the positive goal of a stable and committed marriage towards which to work in the future. At the same time, however, researchers also found that it was crucial to re-educate adolescents about abstinence each successive year.
Dr. Weed concludes, “Well-designed and well-implemented abstinence education programs can reduce teen sexual activity by as much as one half for periods of one to two years, substantially increasing the number of adolescents who avoid the full range of problems related to teen sexual activity. Abandoning this strategy…would appear to be a policy driven by politics rather than by a desire to protect American teens.”
These results are consistent with many other findings, including a 2005 study by Medical Issues Analyst Reginald Finger of Focus on the Family. He investigated over 7,000 people in the United States that indicated the many social and emotional benefits to remaining abstinent. (see http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/may/05050607.html).
READ THE ORIGINAL STUDY:
Bush: Abstinence Only 100 % Effective Means of Preventing Pregnancy, HIV, STDs
Abstinence Alone Protects Fully Against HIV, Ugandan First Lady Tells Youth
Abstinence Education Works – New Report Offers More Evidence
[6/13/07, Elizabeth O’Brien, www.lifesite.net/ldn/2007/jun/07061304.html, Salt Lake City]
ABSTINENCE ED UNDER ATTACK: Pro-Life Groups Mark Abstinence Day on Capitol Hill in Funding Fight. Pro-life organizations marked Abstinence Day on Tuesday as they countered efforts by pro-abortion members of Congress who want to strip funding from the programs.
Hundreds of students and supporters flooded congressional offices as part of the fight to reauthorize Title V funding. Some of the participants attended a breakfast hosted by the Family Research Council with pro-life Reps. Randy Forbes, a Virginia Republican, and Mike McIntyre, a North Carolina Democrat.
Though Congressional bills have included $74 million for peanut storage, $24 million for sugar beets, and $13 million for sheep breeding, abortion advocates are balking at renewing the money spent promoting abstinence to teens.
Supporters of the programs said that the $50 million needed to reauthorize federal funding for was a small price to pay to help teens avoid unplanned pregnancies that result in abortions and sexually transmitted diseases. Supporters of the programs said that the $50 million needed to reauthorize federal funding for was a small price to pay to help teens avoid unplanned pregnancies that result in abortions and sexually transmitted diseases.
Rep. Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, used the kind of rhetoric Republicans normally rely on to spare taxpayer expense for government programs. "American[s]… have already paid more than $1 billion for [abstinence] programs [in the last 11 years]," he said.
But Tony Perkins, FRC's president, wondered where Waxman's concern was placed concerning the quarter of a billion dollars spent annually in Title X funds for pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood. "If Congress can defend a $100 million earmark for citrus fruit, surely it can justify spending half that for children whose futures will be brighter and healthier because of these valuable programs," he said. He urged pro-life advocates to call on Congress to maintain the funding of authentic abstinence education. [23May07, DC LifeNews.com]
GROUPS MARK TEEN PREGNANCY DAY, RESPOND TO ATTACKS ON ABSTINENCE ED. Last week, groups that favor abstinence-only education celebrated National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Day. However, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy designated that day for a national awareness campaign, warning teens against the so-called unrealistic expectations of abstinence programs. But, Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse of Concerned Women for America said that such warnings fly in the face of their supposed "concern" about teens' well-being. "During the heyday of condom-based programs, the rates of teen sexual activity, teen births and teen abortions grew," Crouse explained. "With the wider use of abstinence programs, all the trends have reversed direction and are going down." "This reversal of trends in teen sexual activity, births and abortions is a remarkable achievement that the NCPTP ought to be celebrating," Crouse added. "Could it be that business goals take precedence over the best interest of the teens they are supposed to serve?" [7May07, DC, LifeNews.com]
ACLU, et al., ISSUES BIASED ATTACK AGAINST ABSTIN
ENCE EDUCATION. A complaint against certain federally-funded abstinence education programs was filed yesterday with Health and Human Services by the ACLU, Advocates for Youth, and SIECUS. The programs are purported to have given teens “incomplete and misleading” information regarding sexuality. The complaint, which targets only three curricula, calls for the cessation of federal funding for more than a thousand different abstinence-until-marriage education programs.
“Abstinence educators genuinely care about teens and their health,” said Leslee Unruh, Founder of the Abstinence Clearinghouse. “The only 100 percent effective way to prevent all STDs and premarital pregnancies is to abstain from sex until marriage to an uninfected spouse. Sex education programs like those pushed by SIECUS and Advocates refuse to tell kids this simple truth.”
One curriculum complained against is no longer even being published. “Once again their agenda has overshadowed the facts,” said Lesley Scearce, Executive Director of Why Know Abstinence Education, Inc. “Why Know released its revised Public School Curriculum more than a year ago, yet these groups continue to use outdated information in their critique of our curriculum. The 2nd Edition Curriculum, which contains up-to-date, medically accurate information regarding condoms and STDs, has been stringently reviewed by a panel of medical experts, and tested through rigorous and peer-reviewed evaluation. We need to keep our focus on the primary concern – the health and futures of our young people, not a political agenda.”
The complaint makes no mention of “comprehensive” sex education programs that provide incomplete and misleading information to teens, especially in regards to disease prevention. These sex ed programs are endorsed by SIECUS and Advocates for Youth.
“That the ACLU dislikes our materials is old news,” said LeAnna Benn, author of the two Teen-Aid curricula singled-out. “Their opposition to marriage and fetal development information is old news. If we chose to criticize contraceptive programs, the list would be much longer.”
[27April07, National Abstinence Clearinghouse Press Release, www.abstinence.net]
BRAVE NEW SCHOOLS: 'HAVE SEX, DO DRUGS,' speaker tells students, 'Men with men, women and women, whatever combination you would like'. A guest speaker at an assembly at Boulder High School in Colorado has told students as young as 14 to go have sex and use drugs, prompting school officials to say they will investigate. The instructions came from Joel Becker [assoc clinical prof, psychology, UCLA].
"I am going to encourage you to have sex and encourage you to use drugs appropriately," Becker said during his appearance at the school as part of a recent panel sponsored by the University of Colorado's Conference on World Affairs. "Why I am going to take that position is because you are going to do it anyway," he continued. "I think as a psychologist and health educator, it is more important to educate you in a direction that you might actually stick to. So, I am going to stay mostly on with the sex side because that is the area I know more about. I want to encourage you to all have healthy, sexual behavior."
WND also has reported on similar assemblies that have been used by schools to promote homosexuality, including one where parents were banned from the event, and a second where WND reported school officials ordered their 14-year-old freshman class into a "gay" indoctrination seminar after having them sign a confidentiality agreement promising not to tell their parents.
The Boulder school review promise came from board members who were confronted by Boulder High sophomore Daphne White and her mother, Priscilla White, with their complaint about the event. Priscilla White told board members it's inappropriate for such a message to be delivered by a public school. She was reading excerpts of the presentation to the board when board President Helayne Jones told her to stop, because the language was inappropriate.
"The panel discussion was a completely irresponsible and dangerous invitation to Boulder High students to have sex and take drugs," her daughter, Daphne, told the board. No student should have been forced to be at that panel discussion, incoming Boulder Valley Supt. Chris King agreed. The panel included Becker, Andree Gerhardt, a community engagement leader with Ernst & Young; Antonio Sacre, an LA-based performing artist, and Sanho Tree, of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington. They were assembled for the discussion as part of the university's Conference on World Affairs, which has been described as a forum for anything.
Conference leaders issued a statement, signed by conference director Jim Palmer and others, saying the panel members talked "candidly and sensibly to the high school audience, providing cautionary information about alcohol consumption, drugs, sexual issues and teens."
The sophomore, Daphne, had been required to attend the panel called "STDs: Sex, Teens and Drugs," and accused panel members of presenting one-sided views and discrediting abstinence. The White family said the conference statement wasn't even accurate.
"The panelists irresponsibly advised Boulder High students to have sex and use drugs," the family responded. "Teenage abstinence was dismissed as an unwise choice and indicative of religious hang-ups."
"It may be true that the Conference on World Affairs generally 'fosters awareness of local, national and global citizenship and celebrates intellectual discussion and excellence.' It did not in this case," the family continued.
"As Daphne suggested at the [recent] school board meeting, Boulder High School, the school district and the CWA should host an assembly at Boulder High for the student body. Hopefully the principal, the deputy superintendent, the board president and the director of the CWA would use the opportunity to offer Boulder High students some sound advice that is more consistent with what teens should hear from adults. They need to do it quickly, graduation is June 2."
Fox News' Bill O'Reilly said Boulder already is known as a "far left" town.
He played a recording of an "unidentified male" saying: "We all experiment. It's very natural for young people to experiment with same sex relationships. When you are 13, 12, 13, 14 certainly probably one of the most appropriate sexual behaviors would be masturbation. Even today, there are psychiatrists who will do sessions under the influence of ecstasy. If I ha
d some maybe I'd do it with someone, but you know."
The transcript obtained by WND showed those comments also were from Becker.
Dan Caplis, a lawyer and radio talk-show host on KHOW Radio, said the principal should have been fired, but wasn't.
"We had the president of the school board on, as well as the head of the school district. And they just kept dodging us. Finally, we pinned them down and we said don't you agree this was harmful, this was dangerous? Finally, they agreed to that," Caplis reported.
"These experts came in to undermine and contradict everything most parents at that school are trying to teach their kids about sex and drugs. And I believe that a lot of those parents are ready to fight back. But we'll find out in the next few days," Caplis said. [21May07, http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=55800, Unruh]
CONGRESS SHOULD MIND THEIR A'S AND B'S ON AIDS PREVENTION. Improved access to antiretroviral drugs in recent years has led to an increasing emphasis on treatment over prevention as the principal way of attacking the AIDS epidemic in Africa. But the Washington Post reported yesterday that however effective these drugs may be for individual patients, they are not stopping the spread of the disease overall. The Post article reported that "among African countries with the most serious AIDS epidemics, the only one to report a recent drop in HIV rates is Zimbabwe, which has one of the region's smallest treatment programs." The problem, according to one South African AIDS expert, is that (as the Post describes it), "using antiretrovirals to fight an AIDS epidemic is akin to using chemotherapy and surgery to fight lung cancer. It would cost less, and save many more lives, to find some way to curb smoking." Or, in the case of AIDS, to curb practices like having multiple sex partners. That's exactly what the "abstinence" and "being faithful" (AB) components of President Bush's AIDS relief plan (called PEPFAR) target.
Currently, 20% of the plan's funding is designated for prevention (80% goes for treatment) and only a third of that 20% is reserved for the "AB" approach. Yet incredibly, the Congressional Majority "want to give AIDS bureaucrats a license to slash even that modest commitment. Tell your Congressman to support a continued firm commitment to abstinence and fidelity in AIDS relief." [Spread of AIDS in Africa Is Outpacing Treatment
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/19/AR2007061901971.html?hpid=moreheadlines; FRC, 21June07]
DROP IN US TEEN SEXUAL ACTIVITY RATES linked to Abstinence Programs, Says Top Researcher: Teen sex, pregnancy and abortion rates show significant decline since 1991. Teen sexual activity has decreased dramatically in the US over the past decade, according to reports by official government statistics, and the drop is being linked to the growing use of abstinence programs in schools.
Between 1991 and 2005, teenage sexual activity rates dropped significantly across three population groups–black, Hispanic and white, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control.
While the greatest reduction was seen among black teens, down to 67.6 percent in 2005 from a high of 81.4 percent in 1991, the reversal among white students was also significant. The rate of teenage sexual activity among white students has remained below the 50 percent mark since the mid 90’s and is now at 43 percent. Among Hispanic teens, the drop was smaller, from 53.1 to 51.0.
Teen pregnancy rates have also dropped markedly since peaking in 1994–according to the National Vital Statistics Report, the unwed birthrate for teens age 15-19 years has dropped by 25 percent since 1994.
The reduction in pregnancy rates parallels a dramatic reduction in teen abortion rates. The number of teenage girls obtaining abortions has been halved since 1988, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. At peak rates, teen abortions occurred at 44 per 1000 girls. The current rate is now 22 per 1000 girls.
“Clearly, many teens have heard the truth and are abstaining from sex –– a decision that is best for them in every way,” said Janice Shaw Crouse, Senior Fellow at the Beverly LaHaye Institute, in a Townhall.com column. “Along with decreased sexual activity among teens, we are seeing corresponding decreases in teen births and teen abortions.”
“These simultaneous reverses in trends indicate that teens are choosing a path that is proven to help lead to a bright and promising future both in their personal lives and in every other aspect of their well-being.”
Crouse says the increase in abstinence programs over the past decade parallels the decrease in sexual activity.
While the media routinely condemn abstinence programs as ineffective, the legacy of “safe sex” education is an explosion in teen pregnancy rates and STIs.
“During the 30-year reign of condom-based sex education, teen sexual activity increased, teen births dramatically increased and teen abortions were going up,” Crouse pointed out. “What’s different now? Have teens suddenly learned how to use condoms more effectively and consistently than adult women who are using contraception but are frequently surprised nonetheless to find themselves pregnant? Somehow, I doubt it!”
Related: Abstinence Program Making Huge Impact in Africa: 61 Percent Reduction in Teen Pregnancy — http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/jun/06063004.html
U.S. Teacher’s Union Lists Favorable Review of Abstinence Then Blasts It
[2May07, G. Schultz, LifeSiteNews.com]
NEW POLLING DATA SHOWS PARENTS OVERWHELMINGLY SUPPORT ABSTINENCE EDUCATION. A new poll by the Zogby International polling firm finds that American parents strongly support abstinence education for their children.
About 90 percent of parents agree that being sexually abstinent is best for their child's health and future, with 8 in 10 strongly agreeing.
Another 80 percent think it's important for their child to wait until they're married to have sex with about 60 percent in strong agreement.
The survey found about 80 percent of American parents think sex education in public schools should place more emphasis on abstinence instead of contraception use.
Two-thirds of parents don’t think it’s a good idea for sexual education classes to promote alternatives to intercourse that encourage sexual activity or risk behaviors that could lead to sexual relations. The poll also found strong support for federal funding of abstinence education programs despite opposition from abortion advocates in Congress.
About 60 percent of parents say more funding should go to abstinence education instead of comprehensive sex education and only 20 percent want more sex-education funding. [10July07, DC, LifeNews.com]
ABSTINENCE EDUCATION FUNDING UPDATE. The House of Representatives has completed its consideration of the FY2008 Labor HHS Appropriations bill which funds the Community Based Abstinence Education program.
No amendments were offered impacting the CBAE program, and the House approved funding for the program as proposed by the Appropriations Committee. The Committee proposal included a $28 million increase for the program, bringing total funding to $141 million. The House bill also preserves the "A-H" requirements for the CBAE program.
The next step in the process will be Senate passage of the Labor HHS package. The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved its proposal for the program, which includes a $28 million reduction in funding below FY2007, bringing total funding to $85 million.
The Senate proposal also eliminates the "A-H" requirement for CBAE. Further damaging changes to the program are possible during consideration by the US Senate.
Once the Senate has approved its version of the Labor HHS Appropriations package, a House-Senate conference committee will convene to reconcile the differences between the two bills. Because of the significant differences between the House and Senate proposals, CBAE will be a topic of discussion during these negotiations.
Consideration of the Senate Labor HHS bill is possible prior to the August recess, but unlikely. [Abstinence Clearinghouse, 19July07]