New Abstinence Law Brief Produced
Special Report - February 12, 2010
In response to the misinformation being published by some anti-abstinence education groups about the “Healthy Youth Act” (HYA), the North Carolina Family Policy Council has created a new issue brief that outlines the correct interpretation of the new law, which was enacted by the General Assembly last year and goes into effect in the 2010-11 school year. The HYA changed the name of the state’s sex education program from “Abstinence-Until-Marriage (AUM) Education” to “Reproductive Health and Safety Education,” and mandates instruction on all FDA-approved contraception. While it opens the door for anti-abstinence education groups, such as Planned Parenthood, to get into the classroom to promote “safer” sex, it does not eliminate the requirement to teach abstinence in schools, or prohibit Pregnancy Resource Centers from continuing to assist schools in teaching sex education.
The issue brief, “Abstinence Education Is Still Required to Be Taught in North Carolina Schools; Comprehensive Sex Education Is NOT,” details the new requirements of the law implemented under the HYA, and the requirements of the original AUM law that are STILL intact. Specifically, the HYA issue brief:
Emphasizes that “sex education instructors must continue to teach that abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage is the expected standard of behavior for all school-age children, including that sexual activity within the context of a faithful heterosexual marriage relationship is the best and healthiest means of avoiding a myriad of negative physical and psychological consequences.”
Points out that the HYA still requires that any discussion of condoms or other contraceptives be presented in terms of their real-life effectiveness and failure rates in actual use among adolescent populations, and clearly explain the differences between risk reduction and risk elimination.
Notes that local school boards are still required under the law to provide parents with opportunities to review any and all sex education curricula and to allow parents to withdraw their children from any or all of the programs. The language of the law actually calls for policies that require parental consent for student participation in any or all of the sex education programs.
“We encourage parents, teachers, health instructors and other concerned citizens to be educated about the HYA,” said Bill Brooks, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “While anti-abstinence groups want to use the HYA to argue that AUM education can no longer be taught in our schools, the fact is that abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage is still the expected standard of behavior for students under the law, and the best people to teach AUM and the requirements of the new law are well-trained abstinence educators, not contraceptive sex education advocates. School districts that are already teaching a solid abstinence program are not required to add a condom demonstration program or a comprehensive sex education component. If they read the law carefully, they will find that only a few changes were made to the requirements, and these are easily incorporated into existing abstinence programs.”
Brooks added, “This issue brief is an excellent resource for anyone, but especially for educators and school board members who are considering how to implement the mandates of the HYA in their sex education programs.”
To download a copy of the HYA issue brief, go here.
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