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Letter: Teaching Abstinence? (New York Times)

To the Editor:

Re: your July 18 news article “Abstinence Education Faces an Uncertain Future”:

New York receives more abstinence-only funds than any other state except Texas and Florida. The New York Civil Liberties Union recently completed a review of abstinence-only programs in the state and found that they consistently use materials that are medically inaccurate and biased and are administered without adequate quality control or evaluation measures.

The “abstinence-only until marriage” message deprives young people of vital information to help them guard against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, if and when they do become sexually active.

New York should join the other states that have rejected federal abstinence-only financing and instead use New York State’s considerable matching funds to deliver real sex education that would empower young people to make informed choices, including the choice to remain abstinent.

Galen Sherwin
Corinne Carey

The writers are, respectively, director and an attorney with the New York Civil Liberties Union Reproductive Rights Project.

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