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The vast majority of American parents want their children’s sex education classes to emphasize abstinence until marriage, according to a new poll released today.

The survey, conducted by Zogby International for Focus on the Family, also found that parents strongly oppose the values and messages of comprehensive sex education, a training model that assumes teens will become sexually active and, therefore, must be given easy access to condoms.

In fact, a significant majority of those surveyed believe that sexual behavior is likely to lead to psychological, emotional and physical problems for teens.

“This poll illustrates that the people most concerned about the health and emotional well-being of America’s children — their moms and dads — recognize that abstinence is the only surefire way to protect their kids,” said Linda Klepacki, manager of the abstinence department at Focus on the Family. “As hard as the comprehensive sex-education lobby has tried to sell its ‘safe-sex’ message, it’s clear parents aren’t buying it.”

Klepacki announced the poll results at a Washington , D.C. , news conference today, an event also attended by Dr. Wade Horn, assistant secretary for children and families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“It is gratifying to learn that parents agree with the President that the primary message we should give our children when it comes to sexual behavior is abstinence until marriage,” Dr. Horn said.

The survey of 1,008 parents of children under 17 featured in-depth questions about the respondents’ views of teenage sexual behavior, the messages contained in sex education curricula and sexual activity as it pertains to human relationships. Among its highlights were:

  • Sixty-eight percent (68%)of parents want schools to teach teens that individuals who remain abstinent until marriage have the best chances of marital stability and happiness. “Abstinence programs,” Klepacki said, “support this theme while comprehensive sex ed classes seldom mention marriage and do not criticize casual sex.”
  • Ninety-one percent (91%) want their children to be taught that sex should be linked to the type of love and commitment found in marriage. “Abstinence programs are built upon this message while comprehensive programs present sex as a physical process,” Klepacki explained. “The highest aim for comprehensive programs is the avoidance of STDs and unwanted pregnancy. Abstinence programs aim teens toward an enriched life.
  • More than 56 percent (56%) said that information about contraception should either not be taught as a subject or taught in a class separate from abstinence, such as a health or biology class.
  • Only 39.9 percent (39.9%) thought that abstinence and contraception should be combined in a single class. But even on that matter, only 2 percent (2%) thought that sex education should focus on teaching teens how to use condoms. “That is a shocking number,” Klepacki said, “because the vast proportion of government programs in the past had as their goal getting more teens to use more condoms. It is clear that the public health establishment has been out of step with the will of America ’s parents. Only with the current administration has funding been dedicated to abstinence.”

The Heritage Foundation confirmed that conclusion in an analysis of the Zogby report released at today’s news conference. The report noted that $4.50 was spent on comprehensive sex education for every $1 spent on abstinence education.

Senator Sam Brownback also participated in the press conference. Brownback said, “As we work to reauthorize abstinence education in Congress this year, and in light of President Bush’s increased focus on the issue, we should take a good look at the data presented today. It is clear from this study that most parents want their children to be taught in different ways and that includes increased attention to abstinence education.”

The Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America also took part in today’s news conference.

CONTACT: David Gasak (719)548-4570

More information is available at

Polling results are available at

For more information:

What Do Parents Want Taught in Sex Education Programs?, by The Heritage Foundation

Graphs of Major Findings, by Zogby

Zogby Poll – Parents Support Abstinence

Leslee Unruh, President and Founder of the Abstinence Clearinghouse welcomes this news. “The abstinence until marriage community has always supported parents as the primary sex educators of their children. Parents want to be involved in the most sensitive subjects of their children’s lives.”

CONTACT: Deanna Grimm at 605.335.3643 The Abstinence Clearinghouse, 801 E 41st St. , Sioux Falls , SD 57105 ; Phone 605.335.3643 *Fax 605.335.0629 * * [email protected] . The Abstinence Clearinghouse E-mail Update is intended for informational purposes only. Please note: Links to web sites not produced by the Abstinence Clearinghouse do not necessarily imply an endorsement of all their contents by the Abstinence Clearinghouse.