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Write about crisis pregnancy center led, abstinence only, govt funded, inaccurate, dangerous sex ed

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please write a letter to the editor of the washington post regarding their recent article

 (basically a crisis pregnancy center taught a sex ed class in which students were asked to share the same piece of gum and pass it around class, exemplifying how STDs are spread)

here is my sample letter


Dear Editor

As a pediatrician and adolescent medicine specialist, I think that the gum sharing should more than disgust parents, it should anger them and brings to light how $1billion of taxpayer funds have been wasted on abstinence-only programs, many of which contain lies about condoms and STD transmission. More than 80 percent of the abstinence-only curricula reviewed by the Waxman Congressional report contain false, misleading, or distorted information about reproductive health.

As do 85% of Americans, I believe in "abstinence-plus" also known as "comprehensive sex education" in schools in which we encourage abstinence but also teach about contraceptives. Studies have shown that teaching about contraception does not lead to sex. It leads to use of contraceptives when they do eventually have sex as compared to virginity pledges which have been shown to decrease use of condoms at first intercourse.

Also, this in-school gum exercise which was supposed to help the adolescents has actually harmed them. It has exposed them to STDs such as HSV and Hepatitis B, which exemplifies the harm that medically-inaccurate abstinence programs have wrought.  Another example is virginity pledges have been shown to be associated with a 2x risk of anal sex and 4x risk of oral sex compared to those that do not take virginity pledges.

Also, your article did not expose Rockville Pregnancy Center for what it is. It is a crisis pregnancy center which is why its webpage is called rcpc. They have dropped the crisis from their name, probably because the public now realizes that "crisis pregnancy centers" are often places where women are pressured into pregnancy continuation by being shown ultrasounds and provide biased "pregnancy options" counseling. Too many of these crisis pregnancy centers or former employees of such have entered the government funded business of abstinence only education such as "Teen Esteem" in Pleasanton, California.

It is time to end taxpayer funding for abstinence-only programs and instead shift the funding to abstinence-plus programs that are reviewed by scientists or physicians for scientific accuracy.


Sophia Yen, MD MPH
Pediatrician, board certified in Adolescent Medicine

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