ACLU Puts Abstinence-Only Sex Ed in Its Crosshairs

As if it's not busy enough trying to keep prayer out of the nation's schools and Ten Commandments displays off public property, the ACLU has added a new objective in its quest to defend the civil rights of American citizens: eliminate from public schools the sex-education programs that encourage teens to remain sexually pure until marriage.

As part of its nationwide campaign to protect what it calls “reproductive freedom” &#0151 buzz words typically referring to “abortion on demand” &#0151 the American Civil Liberties Union has target several states it says are allowing “dangerous abstinence-only-until-marriage curricula” to be taught in public schools. In letters written to officials in 18 states, the ACLU states the curricula “deny young people crucial information they need to prevent pregnancy and protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases” and, consequently, are “ineffective and dangerous.”

“To ensure the health of young people throughout [your state], we ask your assistance in keeping these unsafe programs out of our schools,” says the letter, which is critical of abstinence-only programs such as A.C. Green's “Game Plan.” Other programs, asserts the letter, “present harmful stereotypes about men and women.”

ACLU-affiliates in numerous areas of the country are participating in the “Not in My State” campaign, including Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.

What does the ACLU propose in place of the abstinence-only-until-marriage programs?

“They want comprehensive sex education [in] kindergarten and above with a full push towards abortion and access to contraception,” says Linda Klepacki of Focus on the Family Action. Indeed, the ACLU suggests programs that include information about both abstinence and “the effective use of contraception [to] reduce sexual risk-taking and pregnancy among teens.”

And that is where the danger lies, Klepacki says. “This is just the tip of the iceberg,” she tells Family News In Focus. “The ACLU will go after the rest of the states in the country.”

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council says the ACLU is basically threatening to sue governors who would prefer to challenge teenagers to remain abstinent. He points out that the incidence of teen pregnancies had risen sharply before abstinence programs were adopted, according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.

“Since approval of abstinence programs, however,” Perkins notes, “the national teen pregnancy rate has fallen as much as 22 percent.” And that is why his organization has written to the governors in all of the 18 states targeted by the ACLU, encouraging them to help the youth of their state by fully implementing abstinence education. And the Alliance Defense Fund will defend them if challenged by the ACLU, he adds.

“They should help young people understand the grave risks of pre-marital sexual activity,” he says. “They should warn youth of the ineffectiveness of condoms in preventing the spread of many sexually transmitted diseases. In short, these governors should reply to the ACLU: “Yes, In My State!'”

Earlier this year, the ACLU filed a lawsuit to eliminate federal funding for a highly successful abstinence-based sex ed program called the Silver Ring Thing, which encourages teens to sign a voluntary pledge to abstain from sexual activity until marriage and to wear a ring signifying their vow. The ACLU argued that federal funding to the Silver Ring Thing constitutes an unconstitutional endorsement of religion, and that the program fails to adequately separate religious components from its abstinence message.

An attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, which intervened in the suit, stated that the fact the ACLU would oppose the Silver Ring Thing, despite the success of abstinence-only programs, “exposes the ACLU's agenda and horribly misplaced priorities.”

(This article courtesy of Agape Press.)

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