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(Birmingham) – Calling pageant officials’ censorship of Miss America’s abstinence platform “outrageous,” The National Physicians Center for Family Resources (NPC) supports Miss America 2003, Erika Harold, as she encourages young people to abstain from sexual activity.

“It is clear that delaying sexual involvement, preferably until marriage, is the healthiest lifestyle for adolescents, both physically and emotionally,” says NPC Medical Director, Dr. John Whiffen. “Ms. Harold should be commended for promoting a message of health to adolescents — not silenced.”

The NPC applauds Ms. Harold for her commitment to health and supports her efforts to educate America’s youth about the health implications of early sexual involvement:

* Research shows that early sexual involvement is associated with other health-risk behaviors, including youth violence, as well as the use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs.

* According to a recent national survey, sixty-three percent of sexually active adolescents reported wishing they had waited longer before becoming sexually active and seventy-eight percent of all adolescents surveyed believed adolescents should not be sexually active.

* Every day in the United States 8,000 adolescents contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Adolescents and young adults (15-24) are the age groups at the greatest risk for acquiring an STD. Approximately two-thirds of all people who acquire STDs are under 25.

About 900,000 adolescents become pregnant each year. One-third of these end in abortion. Eighty-five percent of adolescent births are out-of-wedlock.

As a positive role model for adolescents everywhere, Miss America should encourage abstinence from all health-risk behaviors, including sexual activity. This is a platform that supports both physical and emotional health.

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The National Physicians Center for Family Resources is a 501 (c) (3) organization established to produce and promote family-friendly educational resources, public policy and model legislation with the assistance of a national network of physicians.