ABSTINENCE-ONLY SEX ED: ‘Chastity Makes a Comeback’
The Los Angeles Times profiles "Choices," a Fullerton, CA-based abstinence-only sex ed program. The Times reports that programs like Choices, which has been presented to 17,000 students in Orange County, "are changing the face of sex education in the United States." The program, which received $400,000 in state funding, teaches "children that premarital sex will likely have 'harmful psychological and physical effects and that condoms and other contraceptives are unreliable.'" Leslee Unruh, the president of the National Abstinence Clearinghouse in Sioux Falls, SD, said of the growing presence of such programs, "The sexual revolution came and went and sex lost. This is our moment in time." The Times reports that "[i]n the last two years, 698 new abstinence-only programs and 21 new media campaigns have been funded by the federal government with state matching funds." The growth of such programs has put "liberal sex educators ... on the defensive" -- insisting that "they have always believed that young people should delay having sex until they are physically and emotionally mature." And others doubt the real impact of such programs. Sarah Brown, director of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, noted that teachers are a "very small part" of the "great cultural landscape of teenagers." She added, "The notion that six hours in two years can make a huge dent on something as important as adolescent pregnancy is naive" (Smith, 8/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.