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Healthy Respect Engages SIECUS and NOW’s Legal Momentum Regarding Merits of Abstinence at Fordham Law Event

John P. Margand, Esq., Chief Executive Officer of Healthy Respect returned to Fordham Law School, his alma mater, to make the case for abstinence education during a 90-minute event hosted by the Stein Scholars Program in Public Interest and Law and Ethics. The program is a competitive and comprehensive three-year educational program for selected students who seek training in the area of public interest law.

Mr. Margand debunked common stereotypes about abstinence education put forth by detractors and stressed that authentic programs do not merely focus on the “no” of abstinence, but rather open the door to healthy alternatives.

Programs like Healthy Respect prepare young persons for success in marriage and in life by focusing their attention on character development, healthy decision-making skills, goal-setting and academic achievement, Mr. Margand said.

Professor Tracy Higgins moderated the event before approximately 50 of the Law School’s Stein Scholars and guests.

Maxwell Ciardullo, Information Associate for the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), conducted two “mock” classes which portrayed abstinence education as stern, simplistic and harmful to students.

Julie Kay, a staff attorney for Legal Momentum (formerly NOW Legal Defense Fund), criticized public funding of abstinence programs and said that they have a negative impact on young women.

In his presentation, Mr. Margand presented a clip from an upcoming DVD that documents an actual Healthy Respect classroom session at a New York public school. He then outlined the case for abstinence, citing the Center for Disease Control’s urgent call to teach young persons that abstinence is the only 100% effective means of preventing sexually transmitted infections.

“Abstinence until marriage for teens,” Mr. Margand said, “is in the best interest of young persons, who have a chance to reach adulthood free from debilitating sexually transmitted infections and their medical and emotional consequences.”

Healthy Respect stresses the need for both young men and women to take responsibility for their sexual behavior and teach that all predatory actions are harmful.

“We thank Fordham Law School and the Stein Scholars for inviting us to take part in this program,” Mr. Margand stated. “We hope that we established that abstinence is a reasonable alternative for all teens. Clearly that is supported by the latest academic research and common sense.”

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