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ACLU Fights Abstinence-Only Programs

Good News on the Abstinence Education Front

Out of Wedlock Births on the Rise



ACLU FIGHTS ABSTINENCE-ONLY PROGRAMS. “What does the ACLU do when they are not suing school boards for allowing prayer or courthouses for posting the Ten Commandments? They sue governors who challenge teenagers to be abstinent.” The ACLU sent “Not In My State” letters [22Sept05] to 18 state governors [AK, AR, CA, CT, DE, GA, IL, KS, MA, MI, MN, MO, NE, NY, PA, RI, TN and WY] warning of lawsuits if they implement abstinence education programs in their public schools. The ACLU calls these abstinence programs “unsafe” and “ineffective,” claiming that abstinence programs contain false or misleading information, discriminate against homosexual youth, and promote religion. Alliance Defense Fund has indicated that it would defend any governor challenged by the ACLU over state abstinence programs. ADF is already defending a variety of faith-based state programs against ACLU attacks across the country. Of course, as noted by the non-partisan National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, prior to adoption of abstinence programs, teen pregnancy had risen sharply. Since approval of abstinence programs, however, the national teen pregnancy rate has fallen as much as 22 percent. FRC has written to all eighteen governors targeted by the ACLU encouraging them to help the youth by fully implementing abstinence education. They should help young people understand the grave risks of pre-marital sexual activity. They should warn youth of the ineffectiveness of condoms in preventing the spread of many sexually transmitted diseases. In short, these governors should reply to ACLU: “Yes, In My State!” [Washington Times, 9-26-05; FRC, 17Oct05; EF News & Notes – 10/21/05]

GOOD NEWS ON THE ABSTINENCE EDUCATION FRONT.  Project Reality has received a 3-year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Administration for Children and Families (ACF). The ACF awarded $37 million to 63 abstinence education grantees across the country. The awards, from the Community-Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) program, are designed to encourage youth to remain abstinent until marriage. Through this new grant, Project Reality will launch the Full Potential Project, which will bring many of Project Reality’s current programs and services to three specific regions across the country – the D.C., Southern New Mexico and Southwest Florida –  with a strong emphasis on Hispanic outreach to teens in NM & FL. All of these regions currently struggle with poverty, teen pregnancy and low-performing student populations. The overall goal of the Full Potential Project is to build awareness of abstinence-until-marriage and to help students in these areas make the best decisions for healthy and successful futures. Throughout the duration of the entire project, Dr. John Lyons [Northwestern Univ Feinberg School of Medicine] will conduct extensive evaluation of the effectiveness of the proposed outreach. Matched pre-post tests will be used for each outreach segment and evaluated regionally and corporately for results. [Project Reality;  EF News & Notes – 10/21/05]

OUT OF WEDLOCK BIRTHS ON THE RISE. The percentage of births to unmarried women has been increasing steadily for the past few decades.  The National Center for on Health Statistics reports that nationwide, about 35% of all births were to unmarried women. These figures hold true for AL:
in 2003, 35% of all births were to unmarried women. These numbers are even alarming when examined by race: 20% of white children are born out of wedlock and an astonishing 67% of black children are born to an unmarried mother. Just 40 years ago, 90% of children were born to married parents. “There is little doubt that out of wedlock births are a major detriment to the lives of children and society as a whole.” The Family Research Council points out that “all too often, those who choose to have children out of wedlock are, in effect, making a choice that condemns those children to being raised in poverty…An abundance of evidence already proves that married husbands and wives, and the children they raise, are happier, healthier and, yes, more prosperous than people in any other family structure.” [; Alabama Citizens Watch Weekly Radio Spots, 12 & 20Oct05]