National Partnership for Women & Families

Statement to House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Abstinence-Only Programs

Washington, D.C. — April 23, 2008 —
“The National Partnership for Women & Families is pleased to submit a statement for today’s hearing in the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, "Domestic Abstinence-Only Programs: Assessing the Evidence." Our statement highlights a few of the reasons — practical, public health, and ethical — to question continuing the public investment in ideologically driven abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. These programs promote abstinence from sexual activity, often providing incomplete and/or misleading information about contraception and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). They also prescribe unrealistic, marriage-focused goals that run counter to the life choices of virtually all Americans.

Certainly, the National Partnership recognizes that abstinence, especially for young teens, is the healthiest choice. We strongly support encouraging teens to postpone sexual activity and we know that parents, health care providers, and other responsible adults have critical roles to play in instilling values and educating children and teens about sexual development and responsible behavior and decision-making.

At the same time, it is critical that Congress acknowledge the growing body of evidence that confirms that abstinence-only programs are not effective at delaying sexual initiation, preventing unwanted pregnancy, or reducing STIs. More »

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at

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