Report Finds No Evidence to Continue Funding Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs

November 7, 2007 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union today said a new report reviewing the effectiveness of 115 sex education programs provides strong evidence that it is time for the federal government to support comprehensive sex education programs. This report comes at the same time Congress is poised to again increase funding for abstinence-only-until marriage programs.

“Today’s report makes clear once again that comprehensive sex education programs, which teach teens about abstinence as well as contraception, work,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “Now it’s time for Congress to heed the results of this study and put valuable taxpayer dollars toward programs that will provide teens with the information they need to make healthy life decisions, and stop funding ineffective abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.”

Today’s report, Emerging Answers 2007: Research Findings on Programs to Reduce Teen Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases, was authored by Douglas Kirby, Ph.D., a leading sexual health researcher. It found that programs containing information on abstinence and contraception – for which there is currently no dedicated federal funding – can significantly delay the initiation of sex, reduce the frequency of sex, reduce the number of sexual partners, and increase condom or contraceptive use among teens.

“This report demonstrates that there are programs out there that can make a real difference in helping teens stay healthy,” said Fredrickson. “These are the programs we need to support with federal sex education dollars.”

Besides endangering teens’ health, abstinence-only-until-marriage programs raise serious civil liberties concerns. These programs create a hostile environment for gay and lesbian teens, reinforce gender stereotypes, and in some instances use taxpayer dollars to promote religion.

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