Advocacy groups are calling for the immediate removal of a new website offering information on sex issues because it presents biased and inaccurate information as fact. The site, 4parents.gov, was launched by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to give parents and mentors tips on how to talk with their children about sex and relationships. It does not address the needs of many youth, however, including those who are sexually active, youth who have been or are being sexually abused, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.
In addition, the site emphasizes abstinence and contains inaccurate information regarding the transmission and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases. It lacks sufficient resources for parents who want background information on various topics such as puberty, and promotes biases against abortion rights, according to the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS). The site dictates values instead of directing parents to resources which could provide information on how to identify and share their own beliefs into discussions regarding sex and sexuality.
HHS credits the National Physicians Center for Family Resources, a group with ties to right-wing organizations and individuals like Focus on the Family and Dr. Laura Schlesinger, as the only organization assisting with the website.
SIECUS has sent a letter to Michael Leavitt, Secretary of the HHS, supported by nearly 150 organizations including the Feminist Majority, to request that the site immediately be taken down, and to urge a formal review of its content. “All of us agree that parents should be the primary sexuality educators of their children. Therefore it is critical that parents have the information, resources, and skills to tackle this complex issue,” said vice president for education and training of the SIECUS, Monica Rodriguez in a recent press release. “This website relies on fear to motivate and contains misinformation and biases that undermine its intent of encouraging parent-child communication around sex and sexuality.”