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Review of Federally Funded Abstinence-Only Education Finds Misleading Messages

The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the US (SIECUS) released its fourth annual review yesterday of a selection of federally funded abstinence-only education programs. The reviews found that “the curricula are riddled with messages of fear and shame, gender stereotypes, and medical misinformation that put young people at risk.” SIECUS reviewed three abstinence-only curricula (WAIT (Why Am I Tempted?) Training, Why kNOw, and Heritage Keepers) used in over a dozen states. These three programs have received over $6 million in federal funds since FY 2001.

“Curricula that instill fear and shame in young people, disparage condom use, perpetuate gender stereotypes, and contain anti-abortion messages have no place in any program for school-aged young people, let alone programs sanctioned by the federal government, and paid for with hard-earned tax dollars,” said William Smith, vice president for public policy at SIECUS, in a release accompanying the report.

Forty-six percent of all high school students and 63 percent of all high school seniors are sexually active, according to SIECUS. In the past six years, nearly $800 million dollars has been given to abstinence only education programs.

Sources:

SEICUS press release 10/4/06; SIECUS Curriculum Review Summary: Heritage Keepers; SIECUS Curriculum Review Summary: Why kNOw; SIECUS Curriculum Review Summary: WAIT (Why Am I Tempted?)