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Society for Adolescent Medicine Decries Abstinence-Only Education

The Society for Adolescent Medicine (SAM) published a position paper calling for the abandonment of abstinence-only education. Published in the January 2006 edition of the Journal of Adolescent Health, the report cites heterosexism, gender stereotypes presented as fact, and scientifically false claims as critical flaws in abstinence-only curricula. The American College Health Association has also endorsed the paper.

In the report, SAM most forcefully objected to the ethical problems with such programs, saying, “Although abstinence is often presented as the moral choice for teenagers, the current federal approach to abstinence-only funding raises serious ethical and human rights concerns.” The position paper describes access to HIV/AIDS and sexual health information as a human right, and finds an ethical obligation that government-funded programs not provide false information. Furthermore, the paper discusses the ethical obligations of health care workers to present a full range of accurate information so that individuals may properly care for their own health. Looking at current government-sponsored abstinence-only programs, SAM found that all of these ethical mandates have been violated.

LEARN MORE Read the paper, and related materials, at Center for Health and Gender Equity

Sources:

Center for Health and Gender Equity 1/6/06; Journal of Adolescent Health 38 (2006)