Abstinence-Only Sex Ed 'Puts Young People at Risk,' Group Says

July 7, 2008 - 8:06 PM

(CNSNews.com) - A liberal group that promotes sex education said abstinence-only-before-marriage education programs "put young people at risk."

According to the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS), abstinence-only "curricula are riddled with messages of fear and shame, gender stereotypes and medical misinformation that put young people at risk."

"Over the past six years - since President Bush came into office - almost 800 million federal dollars have been spent on abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. President Bush is seeking an additional $204 million in Fiscal Year 2007 alone," SEICUS said in a statement.

"We hope this information will give educators, policymakers, community leaders and parents the true picture of what our nation's young people are, and in many cases, are not learning with respect to their health," said William Smith, vice president for public policy at SIECUS.

"Curricula that instill fear and shame in young people, disparage condom use, perpetuate gender stereotypes and contain anti-abortion messages have no place in any program for school-aged young people, let alone programs sanctioned by the federal government and paid for with hard-earned tax dollars," Smith said.

"SIECUS believes in time-tested and proven evidence that finds teaching abstinence alongside other issues, not in isolation from them, provides the best long term outcomes for youth," he added.

But Janice Crouse, senior fellow at the conservative organization Concerned Women for America, called the group's objections to abstinence-only programs "ridiculous and contrived."

Crouse told Cybercast News Service that SEICUS complains "about the federal money that is funding abstinence education" when in actuality, "the money going to abstinence education is a pittance compared to the funds underwriting the leftist 'comprehensive' sex education programs."

"Yet the results of abstinence programs are overwhelmingly more positive than the results that harmed so many teens when the sex ed programs for teens implied that teens would inevitably succumb to their hormones and offered only condoms for their protection," Crouse said.

"Obviously, leftist sex education programs have been around longer and thus have more evaluations on record from the peer-reviewed journals which they dominate," said Crouse.

"But there is no way to avoid acknowledging the fact that teen sexual activity and teen pregnancies are down since abstinence education became more widespread," she concluded.

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