End Federal Funding of Abstinence Only Programs.

End Federal Funding of Abstinence Only Programs.

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The state of sexual education in the United States is a topic of constant political debate. While many support a comprehensive sexual education, consisting of empirically based lessons on STI prevention and contraceptive methods, there are also those in favor of the abstinence-only education approach to sexual health discussions with adolescents. This approach not only withholds and distorts crucial sexual health information but also uses fear and shame tactics to pressure adolescents into abstinence. Despite numerous studies indicating the ineffectiveness of abstinence-only education in controlling adolescent sex, the federal government continues to allocate millions of dollars to implementing these programs around the country. 

Rather than providing students educational sexual and reproductive health information based on scientific evidence and ethical principles, abstinence-only-until-marriage programs deny adolescents of vital health information, impose antiquated gender stereotypes, stigmatize sex and victims of sexual assault, and fail to maintain ethical responsibilites. Research has demonstrated the ineffectiveness and potential harm that these programs impose on adolescents, such as increases in teenage pregnancy and STD rates.

Since 1981, the United States federal government has been funding abstinence-only programs across the country. Throughout the last several years, abstinence-only programs have worked towards rebranding their image and name to “Sexual Risk Avoidance Programs.” The rebranding of “Abstinence-only-until-marriage” to “Sexual-risk-avoidance” is merely a name change, for the program maintains the same undeniable flaws and dangers.

The US Health and Human Services FY2020 budget proposes a $75 million dollar mandatory budget for such programs. This is unacceptable.

With this petition, I ask that President Trump's Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, use his leadership role to put an END to future federal funding of abstinence-only programs and, in turn, redirect this funding to comprehensive sexual education programs in the United States. Federally funded abstinence-only programs must be abandoned in favor of comprehensive sexual education programs in order to raise a generation of well-informed adolescents able to make healthy sexual and reproductive health choices. 

 

 

 

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