Petition to the Obama Administration
Heritage Keepers, an abstinence-only-until-marriage program, has been included on a very short list of HHS-approved programs eligible for implementation with federal funds by Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative grantees.
Like most abstinence-only programs, Heritage Keepers:
- employs gender bias, telling girls they must “dress modestly” so as not to provoke “lustful thoughts” in boys;
- misleads young people about protection from HIV, STIs and pregnancy, providing no discussion of the benefits of using condoms and contraception; and
- reinforces homophobia: its focus on heterosexual marriage ignores and stigmatizes LGBT youth, who still cannot marry in most states and at the federal level.
Heritage Keepers has been assessed at least twice previously and found to be ineffective. Whether the data exist to support the program’s effectiveness is still in question, but the egregious content of the program is crystal clear.
President Obama has said he is working toward women’s equality and ending sexism. He has shown his support for contraception as a part of basic health care. And he has spoken out against homophobia and bullying of LGBT students. Yet the Administration has allowed Heritage Keepers onto a short list of HHS-approved programs, in direct contradiction of those principles.
The Administration’s hypocrisy must end. Students should be given information and skills they can use, not be instructed to fantasize about their dream weddings.