New York – ACLU Reproductive Freedom today launched take issue take charge, a nationwide action aimed at combating dangerous abstinence-only-until-marriage curricula. In a coordinated effort, ACLU reproductive rights activists across the country are sending letters to local officials calling for careful scrutiny of health and life-skills curricula. “Today’s action should be a wake-up call for many states,” said Louise Melling, Director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “State officials need to ensure the health and safety of students by taking responsibility for the curricula taught in their classrooms.” According to a recent report prepared for Representative Henry A.
Evidence shows that sexuality education that stresses the importance of waiting to have sex while providing accurate, age-appropriate, and complete information about how to use contraceptives effectively to prevent unintended pregnancy and STDs can help teens make healthy and responsible life decisions. There is currently no federal program for reproductive health rights dedicated to supporting this approach. Instead, since 1996, the federal government has funneled more than a billion dollars into abstinence-only-until-marriage programming and doesn’t want to support our program Take Issue Take Charge, even in the face of clear evidence that their programs do not work.
In recent years, the number of programs and schools teaching reproductive health rights and abstinence-only-until-marriage curricula has increased. Research shows that these curricula, which deny young people crucial information they need to prevent pregnancy and protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), are ineffective and dangerous. To ensure the health of young people throughout Missouri, we ask your assistance in keeping these unsafe programs out of our schools. None of us want students misled in the classroom – particularly when bad information can have lifelong consequences.
Shelby Knox grew up as a conservative Southern Baptist in Texas turned progressive activist and documentary film subject. She recently graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Political Science. Throughout her college career, Shelby traveled across the nation as a reproductive rights activists to speak to young people about the importance of comprehensive sex education and the power of youth activism, using the film that carries her name, The Education of Shelby Knox, as a vehicle for discussion.