March 17, 2011

Obama and a New Era of Sex Ed. {featured news}

(Photo: The Huffington Post)
In his weekly address last weekend, President Obama, father of two young girls, endorsed his support for women's rights to equal pay, rights, and opportunity, avowing to work towards closing the gender gap. Indeed, since taking office, President Obama has ended nearly thirty years of strong support from the federal government for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that disempower girls in particular, launching a new era of sex education, eliminating two-thirds of federal funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs while introducing new funding to comprehensive sex education initiatives. However, with policies and funding thus taking a major turn, much of this has yet to lead to real program implementation on state and local level.

As SIECUS reports, the Obama administration's new funding initiatives are encountering resistance particularly in the South, which continues to receive the highest amounts of federal abstinence-only-until-marriage funding while surveys also show that a larger percentage of youth in the South engage in riskier sexual health behaviors compared to their counterparts in the rest of the country.

Notably, California saw the steepest decline in their teen pregnancy rate between 1992 and 2005 (52% decline versus a national decline of 37%) and is the only state that never accepted federal abstinence-only-until-marriage funding, ending its own experiment with abstinence-only-until-marriage programs in the mid-1990s, shifting its resources to comprehensive sex education programs. Now more than ever, is a time to promote substantial human sexuality education in all American schools, ensuring the success and furthering of new policies where it matters.

SIECUS. “A Portrait of Sexuality Education and Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs in the States. An Overview. Fiscal Year 2009 Edition” (2010).


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