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Healthy Respect Media Release

Weed Outs Waxman in Washington Hearing

Confronts Biased Panel With Positive Impact of Contemporary Abstinence Education Programs

Washington, D.C.(April 29, 2008) -- Testifying before a Congressional committee that was stacked against him by Rep. Henry Waxman (D, Calif.), Dr. Stan E. Weed made an eloquent case for abstinence education, while exposing the panel's bias. Dr. Weed cited recent studies to show that the best programs delay and reduce sexual activity among teens up to 50 percent.

In addition, Dr. Weed took a scientific look at "comprehensive" sex-education programs that promote condom use, citing study after study to show that such programs consistently fail in their goal of getting teens to use condoms consistently when they choose to engage in sex.

Focusing on three current abstinence education programs that have achieved significant success in delaying first sexual experience among students, he stressed that critics of abstinence education often cite data from outdated surveys that were taken when federally funded programs were in their infancy.

"Recent studies render the previous reviews and their findings somewhat outdated and not representative of the state of the science of abstinence research," he testified.

He cited a study released this year in a scientific journal showing that a Virginia abstinence education program cut teen sexual activity in half. He also cited studies conducted in two other well-known abstinence programs that show students who took the classes were about half as likely as a control group to engage in sex in the next 12 months.

"This suggests that teaching adolescents to avoid sexual activity is a viable primary prevention strategy that can fully prevent the harmful and costly consequences of teen sex," he testified.

Dr. Weed, is a leading researcher on youth behavior and President of The Institute for Research and Evaluation. He has studied 100 different abstinence education programs across the nation, collected data from some 500,000 adolescents, and personally interviewed more than 2,000 young people. However, he was the only pro-abstinence expert among the dozen individuals called testify April 23 before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), also served as a witness, and called on his colleagues to recognize that abstinence education programs are in line with the needs of youth and the wishes of their parents.

Healthy Respect Responds

"Representative Waxman, our loudest critic on Capitol Hill, purports to conduct a hearing to review contemporary abstinence education programs, yet invites only one research expert familiar with these programs to testify. If he were serious about conducting a credible inquiry, he would, at the very least, invite those who run and evaluate them to testify, and not confine himself to critics with little or no direct experience with these programs. Waxman's "hearing" is little more than a public show, and his latest attempt to distort the true aims and methods of authentic abstinence education programs, while ignoring recent studies that reflect their positive impact." said John P. Margand, Esq,, CEO of Healthy Respect in New York.

"We commend Dr. Weed for his courage and competence in speaking truth to power on Capitol Hill. Whereas Waxman voiced his 'findings' even before hearing testimony, Dr. Weed provided Congress with the latest and best studies on abstinence education, and took a closer look at the actual effectiveness of 'comprehensive' sex-education programs. He clearly demonstrated that such programs consistently fail to achieve the low standards that they set for themselves and the youth they purport to serve," added Mr. Margand.

One Simple Question, Five Telling Answers

The bias of the panel was perhaps nowhere more evident, than in the response of abstinence critics to the following question posed by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), a member on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform:

"If evidence showed abstinence education was more or as effective as comprehensive sex education, would you support optional federal funding for such programs?"

All of the following witnesses, hostile to abstinence education, responded, "No.": Dr. Harvey Fineberg, Dr. John Santelli, Dr. George Benjamin, Max Siegel and Shelby Knox.

"These critics, assembled by Waxman last Wednesday, now publicly concede that they would not support abstinence education, even when faced with evidence that it works," said Mr. Margand. "We are not so much surprised by their bias, but rather with the fact that they have made it so public." Click here to see the 78-second video clip of this startling congressional testimony. Click here to view the entire congressional hearing.

For more information about the hearing and its implications contact the National Abstinence Education Association and the Abstinence Clearinghouse.

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About Healthy Respect:

The Healthy Respect curriculum for students in grades 7 through 12 is designed to guide young people in making good choices and set them on a safe course toward success. With age-appropriate lessons, it engenders healthy perspectives regarding the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, and promotes abstinence in preparation for marriage by illustrating the power and delicacy of the human reproductive system, while fostering attitudes of self-respect and self-control.

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