"Abstinence-only programs threaten fundamental human rights"

A new study challenges abstinence-only advocates' moral high ground.

Published January 6, 2006 1:00PM (EST)

Here's the latest in the ongoing battle over sex ed in American schools: A newly published scientific study asserts that the abstinence-only approach isn't just ineffective, it's immoral. (Thanks to Feministing for the tip!) The study, performed by the Society of Adolescent Medicine and appearing in this month's Journal of Adolescent Health, effectively accuses Bush administration policies of violating teenagers' human rights:

"Although abstinence is a healthy behavioral option for teens, abstinence as a sole option for adolescents is scientifically and ethically problematic ... We believe that abstinence-only education programs, as defined by federal funding requirements, are morally problematic, by withholding information and promoting questionable and inaccurate opinions. Abstinence-only programs threaten fundamental human rights to health, information, and life."

We couldn't agree more.

By Page Rockwell

Page Rockwell is Salon's editorial project manager.

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