Agency Proposes Condoms for Teens
Special Report - December 19, 2007
Under new rules proposed by the North Carolina Commission for Public Health, applicants seeking grants from the State to teach high-risk teens about sex would be forced to abandon authentic abstinence until marriage education and replace it with comprehensive sex education. As part of Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiatives, the State grants taxpayer funding to community organizations that provide pregnancy prevention programs outside of school hours to teens who are at high-risk for pregnancy. The proposed rules would require grant applicants to include plans: “to provide comprehensive sexuality education including complete and medically accurate information about contraceptive methods including abstinence to all participants,” and “to refer teens who have needs beyond the scope of the program including…family planning” (i.e. contraception and possibly abortion). A hearing was held on Monday, December 17, 2007, on the proposed rules, with representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services, Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Coalition, and House Minority Leader Paul Stam’s office speaking on the proposed change. Attorney Tami Fitzgerald represented the North Carolina Family Policy Council.
During the hearing Ms. Fitzgerald testified that for over a decade, North Carolina has had a state law mandating abstinence until marriage sexuality training in public school classrooms. She stated that since 1990, adolescent pregnancy rates have declined more than 40%, and between 1995 and 2005 abortion rates for girls age 15-19 have fallen from 27 to 14.3 per 1000. She also noted that, “National trends reported by the Centers for Disease Control have shown a decline in the number of sexually active teens from 54.1 percent in 1992 to 46.7 percent in 2004.” Ms. Fitzgerald attributed these decreases to the success of abstinence until marriage sexuality education. She urged the State not to undermine these successes by providing funds only to community programs that preach the use of condoms over abstinence and refer young teens for abortion services. “The State’s policy on teaching sex education should be consistent,” she said, “Abstinence is required to be taught in the classroom, and it should be required to be taught outside the classroom as well. The State cannot continue to give out a mixed message to teens about sex and experience success.”
Janet Colm, CEO of Planned Parenthood North Carolina, attributed the decrease in teen pregnancies, abortions, and sexual activity to an increase in the use of condoms. This, despite the fact that by law sexuality education in North Carolina public schools must be abstinence-based. She did agree, however, that teens are receiving a “mixed message” from State administrators.
The proposed rule change was published in the November 15, 2007 issue of the North Carolina Register (see page 905 and 906). Public comments on the proposed rules will be received until January 14th. Any member of the public is invited to send written comments to: The Hon. Dempsey Benton, Secretary, State of North Carolina, Department of Health and Human Services, 2101 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-2101.
Copyright © 2007. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.