Goodbye, Abstinence-Only [VIDEO]

By Terry Keleher May 09, 2009

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

President Obama has just cut all federal funding for failed abstinence-only-until-marriage programs in his proposed 2010 budget. The $100 million program from the George W. Bush era is being scrapped and replaced with $110 million for comprehensive teen pregnancy prevention. This is a big victory for many youth advocacy groups, reproductive rights and women’s organizations and other social justice activists who have been fighting for years and flooding Congressional offices with messages urging them to dismantle the ineffective and inaccurate content of the abstinence-only curricula. But it’s not a done deal until the budget proposal wins Congressional approval, so stay tuned and stay active until the programs are fully put to rest. Now is also the time to ramp up efforts to shape new sexual health policies and programs to ensure that they are medically accurate, effective, culturally appropriate and respectful. Back in 1997, the Applied Research Center release a report called "Sex, Lies and Politics," a study of abstinence-only sex education curricula in California. This ground breaking report exposed the scare tactics, racism, homophobia and outright lies that religious extremist groups used to promote abstinence-only policy and block comprehensive sexuality education in California schools. The study documented lies, omissions and racial stereotypes designed to scare students into abstinence. Information on condoms and contraception was inaccurate or missing. National coverage of the report included a mention in the front page of the New York Times. And the report factored into the state of California’s decision to reject federal funding for abstinence-only texts. Download this report (PDF) here. In 2005, ARC released another report called, “Learning Curves: Expanding the Constituency for Comprehensive Sexuality Education.” This report documents efforts and opportunities to expand the base of support in the U.S. for comprehensive sexuality education, despite vocal opposition and hostile policy initiatives. This report can be downloaded by clicking here.