77 Organizations Urge President Bush to Rescind Increased Funding for Abstinence-Only Sex Education Programs
Seventy-seven organizations have written a letter to President Bush asking him not to increase funding for abstinence-only sex education programs and to instead allocate more resources toward "science-based sexuality education that includes age-appropriate, medically accurate information" about both abstinence and contraception (Advocates for Youth release, 2/8). The letter states that students who receive such comprehensive sex education are more likely to use condoms and other forms of contraception, delay the onset of sexual activity, have sex less often and have fewer sexual partners. The letter notes that organizations such as the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Public Health Association have all endorsed comprehensive sex education programs. "In contrast, there is little scientific evidence that [abstinence-only] programs ... are effective," the letter says, noting that HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson has "expressed concerns about the 'paucity of evidence of (the) effectiveness'" of abstinence-only programs. The letter concludes, "Continued increases to these unproven [abstinence-only] programs fly in the face of both scientific evidence and the desires of parents. ... Protecting the lives of America's young people, especially in the era of AIDS, should dictate that we do the best we can based on what the experts tell us." Among the organizations that signed the letter are ACOG, APHA, Advocates for Youth, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, the National Abortion Federation, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the National Organization for Women, the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, Catholics for a Free Choice, the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy, AIDS Action and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (Letter text, 2/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.