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Sexual Health Advocate: Abstinence Ed Proponents Should Strike Back Against Attacker

By Jim Brown
September 22, 2005

(AgapePress) - Two sex education groups are stepping up their criticism of federally-funded abstinence-only education programs. The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) and Advocates for Youth recently filed a complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services, seeking to cut federal money from abstinence-until-marriage programs.

SIECUS, according to AgapePress columnist Jane Jimenez, "has been at the forefront of attacks on abstinence education this past year," and has taken advantage of every opportunity to push its claims "that abstinence education is harming children." Advocates for Youth is a group that promotes, among other things, the idea that young people have rights to "accurate and complete sexual health information" and "confidential reproductive and sexual health services," and that society has a responsibility to provide youth with "the tools they need to safeguard their sexual health."

The groups are invoking the Data Quality Act to argue that the Bush administration's funding of abstinence-only programs supports dissemination of misleading and inaccurate information. However, Leslie Unruh of the Abstinence Clearinghouse says the sex-ed groups are "up against the ropes" and have resorted to "attacking" the government agency overlooking Title V programs.

"Suddenly sex has become very, very dangerous," Unruh notes, "and [with] these kids from this generation now, believe it or not, according to the Centers for Disease Control there are less kids engaging in risky sexual practices and less kids having sex than those that are. And so, I think they're on the run. We have SIECUS, finally, on the run."

Many of the programs that were at one time doing sex ed were "taking abstinence dollars away from the abstinence programs, and they were being used to do contraceptive education," Unruh contends. But she believes Dr. Wade Horn, who oversees the Administration for Children and Families, will reject the complaint made by SIECUS and Advocates for Youth, and support abstinence-only education.

"Dr. Horn is going to stand up for truth," the Abstinence Clearinghouse spokeswoman says, "and he's going to stand up to really reward the abstinence-till-marriage programs. And he's going to stand up to SIECUS."

That organization right now is "like a caged animal," Unruh insists, and she believes the time may be right for abstinence education proponents to file their own complaint, calling for the correction of information disseminated by proponents of condom and contraception-based sex-ed programs.

Jim Brown, a regular contributor to AgapePress, is a reporter for American Family Radio News, which can be heard online.

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