When Abstinence Doesn’t Mean Abstinence
Parents in Shawnee, Kansas were disturbed when students at Hocker Grove Middle School were shown a sexually explicit poster in a “health” class that is supposedly “abstinence-based.” One father thought that the poster his daughter photographed to show him must have been some sort of “student prank.” Unfortunately, the school principal informed him that the poster is part of school curriculum. The poster lists, among other things, “oral sex,” “anal sex,” “grinding,” and “sexual fantasy.”
A district spokeswoman said:
The poster that you reference is actually part of our middle school health and science materials, and so it is a part of our district approved curriculum. However, the item is meant to be part of a lesson, and so certainly as a stand-alone poster without the context of a teacher-led discussion, I could see that there might be some cause for concern.
According to Fox News, the spokeswoman says the poster needs to be viewed in the “context of a bigger curriculum, which she calls abstinence-based for students in middle school. She said that the approved curriculum is in line with what other schools around the country do as well.” (1-14-14)
Unfortunately, the poster is in line with sex education in the rest of the country. Many programs, especially those associated with the Planned Parenthood advocacy network claim to be “abstinence-based” but actually serve as an introduction to sex and foreplay.
When parents receive information about intended school-based health and sex education programs that claim to teach children abstinence, most are pleased. What program consent forms fail to tell parents is, that for most programs, abstinence means “abstinence until students change their minds.” There is no concept of abstinence until marriage (or even another sort of commitment) taught in most sex education programs.
Abstinence Until Marriage
The Heritage Keepers sex education curriculum teaches abstinence in a way that “helps students see the benefits of marriage and why it is important to delay sex and form healthy families.” It is the first abstinence-until-marriage program in the nation to be recognized on the current federal teen pregnancy prevention program list and identified by the Dept. of Health and Human Services as effective. It receives grants amounting to about $500,000 a year. In contrast, according to Planned Parenthood’s Annual Report, that organization operated on $1.21 billion in the fiscal year ending June of 2013; $540.6 million of that was provided to Planned Parenthood by taxpayer-funded government health services grants.
Planned Parenthood promotes sex as pleasure, not as part of a committed marital relationship. Some say this is to keep themselves in the (profitable) business of abortion, teen pregnancy, and birth control for teens. (LifeNews.com, 1-19-14) Others say Planned Parenthood seeks to destroy traditional families.
Heritage Keepers is one of only 31 program models that “met effectiveness criteria in the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services pregnancy prevention research review of more than 1,000 studies. These are programs that were found to be effective at preventing teen pregnancies or births, reducing sexually transmitted infections, or reducing rates of associated sexual risk behaviors. . . .” (HHS.OfficeofAdolescentServices.gov) Heritage Keepers is also the only program out of 31 programs listed that complies with the Congressional definition of abstinence education.
Independent third-party research proves that a year after completing Heritage Keepers, students participating in the program initiated sex at a rate 67% lower than students not receiving the program. Heritage Keepers offers sex education materials that help children become adults who will respect sex as an integral part of marriage. (See book review in this issue.)
Obama’s Sex Ed Budget
President Obama’s proposed 2015 budget, released in March of 2014, calls for a five-year reauthorization of the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) sex education program at $75 million a year, funded by the Affordable Care Act of 2010, otherwise known as Obamacare. Obama also requests $105 million for Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (TPPI) sex education funding. Both PREP and TPPI claim to be abstinence-based sex education, but both programs promote sex, contraception, and abortion to students.
The Obama administration’s 2015 budget asks Congress to eliminate funding for Abstinence Education programs. This is no surprise because President Obama doesn’t believe in abstinence-based sex education, which focuses on the social, psychological, and health gains to be realized by delaying initiation of sexual activity and engaging in healthy relationships.
“SIECUS applauds the [Obama] administration’s commitment to improving the sexual health and well-being of young people and looks forward to working with Congress to continue these investments.” (SIECUS.org, 3-4-14) SIECUS is the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S., which “seeks to promote the institutionalization of comprehensive sexuality education in public schools.”