Hi All- We just sent this action alert about the Obama administration’s decision to officially endorse an abstinence-only-until-marriage program. See the message below…if you have a minute today, click here to take action.
Want to read more about this news? Read our analysis on RH Reality Check.
"Everything is just as you have seen it in a million daydreams…The flowers you spent so much time choosing fill the room like soft perfume. Your true love stands at the front. You are ready to trust him with all that you have and all that you are."
The above is not an excerpt from a cheesy romance novel. It’s from an abstinence-only-until-marriage program called Heritage Keepers.
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.
And now Heritage Keepers has been included on a very short list of HHS-approved programs eligible for implementation with federal funds by Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative grantees.
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.
Advocates for Youth
P.S. Click here to see how these lessons play out in a classroom that might include LGBT students.