Harm of Abstinence-Only Programs in U.S. and Abroad Subject of Panel Discussion at Two Maine College Campuses
Leading Advocates for Women's Health and Rights call for an End to Government Funding for Failed Abstinence-Only Programs
NEW YORK, Jan. 28 /PRNewswire/ - Legal Momentum, in partnership with
the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States
(SIECUS) and the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), will hold
panel discussions at Bowdoin College (January 29) and at the University of
Southern Maine Portland campus (January 30) as part of the organizations'
national campaign to end U.S. government funding for domestic and
international programs that teach abstinence-only-until-marriage. These two
events follow a standing-room only event in September 2006 at the Harvard Law School.
Legal Momentum, CHANGE, and SIECUS seek to mobilize communities to take
action at the local level and join the national movement against government
funding for abstinence-only programs. The events come in the wake of
staggering data released recently by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) showing that the teen birthrate in the United States
jumped 3% from 2005 to 2006 after more than 15 years of steady decline. In
addition, the U.S. Congress is currently in the midst of activity around
reauthorization of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR),
the U.S. global AIDS initiative that currently restricts 33% of HIV
prevention funds to ideologically-based abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.
Numerous studies provide conclusive evidence that
abstinence-only-until- marriage programs, at home and abroad, do not lead
to positive changes in teen sexual behavior, are particularly harmful to
women and girls because they promote dangerous and outdated stereotypes,
potentially exacerbate the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually
transmitted infections, and increase the risk of unplanned pregnancy for
teens. These times demand honest and comprehensive information about the
risks of sexual activity -- and how to responsibly handle those risks.
WHAT: Panel presentation and Q&A on Harm of Abstinence-only Programs in
U.S. and Abroad
WHO: Julie F. Kay, Senior Staff Attorney
Sexuality and Family Rights Program, Legal Momentum
Speaking on: Abstinence-Only Programs: Harmful to Women and Girls
Serra Sippel, Executive Director, Center for Health and Gender
Speaking on: Exporting the U.S. Abstinence-Only Agenda
William Smith, Vice President for Public Policy
Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States
Speaking on: Challenges and Successes in Opposing Abstinence-Only
WHEN: TUESDAY, JANUARY 29, 2008, 7:00 P.M.
WHERE: Kresge Auditorium, Visual Arts Center
Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 30, 2008, 5:30 P.M.
University Events Room, Glickman Library, 7th Fl.
University of Southern Maine, Portland, Maine
About Legal Momentum
Founded in 1970, Legal Momentum is the nation's oldest legal advocacy
organization dedicated to advancing the rights of women and girls. Legal
Momentum has been a leader in establishing legal, legislative, and
educational strategies to secure equality and justice for women across the
country. Its public policy and litigation agenda focus on four areas that
are of greatest concern to women in the United States: freedom from
violence against women, equal work and equal pay; the health of women and
girls; and strong families and strong communities.
SIECUS advocates for the right of all people to accurate information,
comprehensive education about sexuality, and sexual health services.
About the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)
CHANGE works to ensure that U.S. international policies and programs
promote sexual and reproductive health and rights through effective,
evidence- based approaches to prevention and treatment of critical
reproductive and sexual health concerns, and through increased funding for
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