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Medical group tells feds to end abstinence-only education


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Medical group tells feds to end abstinence-only education

01.11.2006 12:00 AM EST


The federal government should stop funding abstinence-only sex education programs for youth because they discriminate against gays and lesbians and deprive U.S. youths of their “basic human right” to receive complete sexual health information, according to the Society for Adolescent Medicine, The Washington Times reports. Writing in the society’s Journal of Adolescent Health, SAM officials say funding of abstinence-only programs raises “serious ethnical and human-rights concerns” and that youth should instead be offered “comprehensive, medically accurate sexuality education.” Programs that stress abstinence until marriage also wrongly discriminate against gay and lesbian youth, who cannot legally marry under federal law and are prohibited from marriage in 49 of 50 states.

SAM acknowledges in the journal commentary that abstaining from sex is a healthy choice for teenagers, and it supports including abstinence as an option to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. But the organization also notes that few Americans remain abstinent until marriage and that policies denying those who become sexually active with information that can protect their health are "flawed from scientific and medical ethics viewpoints.”

President Bush has more than doubled spending on abstinence programs since taking office in 2001. He has called for Congress to approve $177 million for abstinence programs in fiscal 2006.

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