Response to the
New York Times Editorial of July 19th
To the Editor:
Re: “Muzzling Sex Education on Anything but
Abstinence”, July 19, 2006.
Mr. Freedman makes the common error of referring to
authentic abstinence education programs as
"abstinence only". The implication is that these
"just say no" programs are rife with inaccurate
medical data and unrealistic expectations. This
caricature of authentic abstinence education
programs is entirely wrong.
The federal statutory guidelines (the A-H Criteria)
require young persons to be educated about the
medical and psychological risks associated with
sexual activity outside of marriage. The guidelines
also require strategies for avoiding risky behavior,
education regarding the importance of achieving
self-sufficiency before engaging in sexual activity,
and education regarding the documented health and
economic benefits associated with marriage.
Abstinence education programs are demonstrating
compelling results nationwide. Here in the New York
metropolitan area, our Healthy Respect
Abstinence Education Program has reached
nearly 3,000 students. We have turned to Robin H.
Rogers-Dillon, Ph.D., Assoc. Professor of Sociology
at Queens College to conduct an intensive and
ongoing program evaluation.
Individuals have a right to advocate for
traditional, failed sex education programs (however
wrong-headed that may be), but not at the expense of
the truth about the effectiveness of authentic
John P. Margand, Esq.
Dr. Nanci Coppola
Director of Curriculum and Programs