Group Asks Obama to Continue Abstinence Education
Special Report - December 4, 2008
Over 500 individuals representing more than 350 organizations in 45 states and the District of Columbia signed a letter encouraging President-elect Barack Obama to continue federal funding for state abstinence education programs. The letter, written by the National Abstinence Education Association (NAEA), was sent on November. The North Carolina Family Policy Council joined a number of physicians, educators, parents, health departments, and members of community organizations¬ to sign the letter stating that abstinence programs are the best way to promote healthy and positive life decisions among youth regarding sexual activity.
The letter draws attention to the growing body of research that points out the positive influence abstinence education has on the sexual behavior of teens. The letter notes that teens in these programs are “significantly less likely to initiate sexual activity” and students who have been sexually active “are more likely to discontinue their sexual activity as a result of the skills and encouragement” shared in these classes. Abstinence education is important because students need to know that the only way to completely avoid the many physical and emotional risks of adolescent sexual activity is to avoid sexual activity altogether. These programs empower students “to make decisions that benefit their overall health,” according to the letter
The NAEA letter concludes by asking President-Elect Obama to continue the positive records of President Clinton and President Bush’s, which promoted healthy abstinence sexual education programs through federal funding. The continuation of these initiatives “is essential given the highly sexualized culture in which [today’s youth] live.,” the letter states.
In July, Congress extended Title V federal funding for state abstinence programs through June 2009. The $50 million block grant is specifically earmarked for states to teach abstinence until marriage in sexual education programs. North Carolina typically receives about $1.2 million of Title V funds.
“We must be committed to promoting the best and most healthy lifestyles for our children,” said Bill Brooks, executive director of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “Abstinence until marriage education is one of the most positive messages we can relate to our youth, and we hope that an Obama administration will continue to support those states and communities that rely on federal funding to promote healthy and wise lifestyles.”
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