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Rule Change Could Force Nonprofits to Teach Comprehensive Sex Ed

Posted December 17, 2007

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— A change to a state rule regarding grants given to nonprofit groups focused on teenage pregnancy prevention could force some groups to change their programs.

Under the proposed rule change by the state Department of Health and Human Services, abstinence-only groups that operate outside of schools must teach teenagers complete and medically accurate information about sex education and contraceptive methods.

Otherwise, the nonprofits risk losing state funding.

The proposed change has angered some groups, such as the North Carolina Family Policy Council, which push abstinence-focused programs.

"Basically, these new rule changes would defund abstinence," said Tami Fitzgerald, an attorney with the group, said Monday after a hearing on the matter.

The rule change would require any grant applicants to submit a plan to provide comprehensive sex education and information about contraceptive methods, including abstinence. Groups would be required to accommodate requests for things that fall beyond the scope of the program, such as family planning and access to contraceptives.

State officials argued that programs receiving state money should offer teenagers any option that will work best for them.

"These projects have to serve all kids," said Dr. Joe Holiday with the North Carolina Division of Public Health. "If they focus on abstinence, (they should) make sure kids can have other information if they ask for it or want it or need it."

Fitzgerald defended the abstinence-only approach to sex education.

"It is really trying to give them power over their own bodies, rather than just giving in and saying: 'We know you are going to have sex, so here is a condom,'" Fitzgerald said.

Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake County, expressed his opposition to the rule change at Monday's hearing.

A bill before the state Legislature would encourage similar changes to sex education in public schools.

The public comment period on the proposed rule changes will end Jan. 14, and state leaders will consider the proposal in February.

54 Comments

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  • Travised Dec 18, 2007

    ..groups that only teach abstinence would be required to teach teenagers complete and medically accurate information about sex education and contraceptive methods...

    My problem with this is schools (public) almost endorse the latex industry in sex education. Their seeming mindset is throw on a jacket and it can't get wet. Sorry. Being raised from a religious house I support the method that the schools CAN'T and often times WON'T speak of. That being abstaining. Many districts feel that if they speak about that it is too close to bringing in religion into the school.

    At the same time, why should we force churches and community groups of religious nature to go against their beliefs when speaking to the younger age people? This is a very fine tightrope to walk. Would you want a fishbowl of condoms at your kids school so they could just take them? Or at your church for that matter in the youth room? Sorry, this goes toooo far.

  • sdwr98 Dec 18, 2007

    Study after study in peer-reviewed journals and by respected scientists have shown that abstinence-only education leads to higher rates of STDs and does not reduce the rate of teen pregnancy. Comprehensive sex ed, on the other hand, has been shown to do so. After looking at the data, why on earth would anybody object? If you wish to teach your child abstinence as a preferred method of birth control, that is your right as a parent. But don't prevent everybody else from getting the information. More information cannot hurt. As a parent your job is to teach your child to think for herself, because you cannot be in control 100% of the time.

  • lizard Dec 18, 2007

    "Wrapping up" is only 65% effective. Abstinence is 100 % effective.

    Lots of people want sex. Not everyone has it becuase they develop self-discipline. Something liberals have long abandoned.

  • Chesire Grin Dec 18, 2007

    I dare say I rather not have the Magical Flying Sphagetti Monster being invoked in any classroom, but I guess it does no harm. However the point at hand in this story is that abstinence is an idiotic approach. Unless you brainwash them silly, teens are going to want to have sex. It is better to teach them of the horrors of STDs and Pregnancy so they wrap up then just wave a finger at them and tell them "NO OR GOD WILL SPANK YOU MISTER"

  • Timbo Dec 18, 2007

    Agreed, kenshi.

  • kenshi Dec 18, 2007

    Bring God back into the classroom??? I don't want some idiot trying to convert my kids. This is a good balance... if those programs don't want to teach anything other than abstinence then they need to find a new source of funding.

  • methinkthis Dec 18, 2007

    With regard to God and morality, the U.S. Constitution does not prohibit God. It only prohibits favoring Catholicism over Protestantism or the various derivatives. In fact the United States Supreme Court in 1892 ruled the following: “Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian.” The Redeemer taught that God is love and he loves all mankind equally. He loves regardless of whether the recipient receives the love. His teaching was that all those who believe should love as He loved. The Bible defines love in 1 Corinthian 13. Go ahead and rant but we would all be better off if we followed the teachings of the Redeemer, Jesus.

  • methinkthis Dec 18, 2007

    Abstinence is best for the overall welling being of the student. Being taught that the student is an animal with no control over his hormones or emotions is not healthy. Abstinence plays out in other scenarios such as choosing to not beat up someone you don’t like or not forcing yourself on someone. It is about being in charge of your body with respect to all those you come in contact with every minute of every day.

  • Timbo Dec 18, 2007

    Timothy, sorry, but I have no desire to list my last name. There are too many nutcases out there that might not like what someone says and choose to be inappropriate. I've been posting at various list servers, confers and places like this since 1985 and if you want a piece of unsolicited advice, I suggest you reveal as little as possible about your identity for *lots* of reasons.

    That said, I just about fell off my chair after reading TBK's comment... It actually makes sense. ;^) I don't think Abstinence is a reasonable approach for teaching sex education, but, there's nothing wrong with including it with the rest of a comprehensive sex education curriculum.

  • Worland Dec 18, 2007

    Requiring an Abstinence group to teach "comprehensive" sex education is like handing out beers at an AA meeting.

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