Thursday, December 2, 2004
WASHINGTON, DC — According to a report issued by U.S. House of Representatives Congressman Henry A. Waxman (D–CA), the majority of abstinence-only sexual education programs in schools contain incorrect or misleading information.
The report found that over 80% of the curricula used by the recipients of the grants contained incorrect information, including the claim that condoms did not prevent the spread of STDs and that abortions have a high chance of causing sterility.
These programs are funded by the federal government under President George W. Bush’s faith-based initiative. According to the report, these abstinence programs—promoted by the administration of President Bush—are receiving increasing amounts of funding: nearly $170 million will be spent in 2005, which is more than double the spending on these programs in 2001.
Under the faith-based initiative programs, the United States government allocates funds to religious and other community organizations that agree to carry out abstinence education programs which do not include coverage of any other methods of birth control or sexually transmitted disease prevention, as well as other criteria.
The timing of the report is significant in that it comes on the heels of research from Columbia University that found that nearly 9 of 10 teenagers who had pledged abstinence from pre-marital sex had broken their vows in the first six years since the pledges.
The Waxman Report and the Columbia University study describe some abstinence programs as factually wrong and/or ineffective. In a rebuttal, Dr. Alma L. Golden, a deputy assistant secretary in the Health and Human Services Department, said in a statement that Mr. Waxman’s report “misses the boat” and that it took information out of context “for purely political reasons.”