Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Calif. ACLU Fights Abstinence Education

A battle over sex education is under way in Sonoma County [California], pitting a longtime abstinence-only group against California Department of Education officials who say the group breaks state law when it teaches in the classroom.

-- From "Simmering sex-ed battle heats up" by Kerry Benefield, the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, California 6/7/09

Among the players in the unfolding debate are the ACLU of Northern California, the California Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Free to Be, a Sonoma County group that has been promoting abstinence until marriage for 17 years.

Caught in the middle are schools and districts that have hosted Free to Be speakers, including teens, to talk to students about the benefits of abstaining from sex until they are married.

Free to Be was established in 1992 in association with Catholic Charities as an abstinence-until-marriage outreach program relying heavily on teen presenters. Free to Be ended the affiliation with Catholic Charities approximately 18 months ago, said executive director and founder Sue Bisbee.

As far back as 2000, Free to Be has received annual federal funding for its abstinence program, which helps train teen speakers to spread the word about waiting until marriage before having sex, as well as living drug free and making what it describes as “healthy choices.”

Bisbee said the group gives presentations in about 30 schools each year. According to the group’s Web site, more than 75,000 teens have heard a Free to Be presentation . . .

President Barack Obama last month proposed eliminating abstinence-only education funding from teen pregnancy prevention initiatives.

To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.