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Pediatricians Shun Abstinence-Only Education

Pediatricians Shun Abstinence-Only Education
By: Jessica Anderson - 7/7/2005

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued new recommendations Tuesday for its official teen pregnancy policy, criticizing abstinence-only education and advocating teenage access to birth control and emergency contraception.

The updated recommendations are a shift from previous policy guidelines, which stated that “abstinence counseling is an important role for all pediatricians.”

The new policy undermines abstinence-only education, claiming that it increases the risk of unsafe sex and sexually transmitted diseases among adolescents. It suggests that while doctors should encourage teens to delay sexual activity, they should also make contraceptives accessible to all teenagers, regardless of whether they are sexually active.

This timing is ironic and troubling since the most recent data indicate a decrease in teen sexual activity and teen pregnancy. In addition, the recommendations are raising concern because they offer contradictory advice to teenagers, sending an ambiguous message about sexual behavior and condoning promiscuity.

Dr. Janice Crouse, senior fellow of Concerned Women for America’s (CWA’s) Beverly LaHaye Institute, states, “These new recommendations reflect the increased political involvements of medical associations. Under the cover of professional groups, political partisans are enacting policies and establishing procedures that conform to their leftist ideology. It is sad to see professional organizations captured by special interests in this way and it is a disservice to the public and to those pediatricians who pay membership fees thinking that they are advancing the professionalism of their medical specialty.”

Dr. Crouse is also concerned with the AAP’s advocacy of emergency contraception, often known as the morning-after pill, which can prevent implantation of an embryo. Crouse said, “Those who advocate the morning-after pills are steam-rolling over the highly respected physicians who are concerned about the safety of this potent medication for women especially for teens whose reproductive systems are still developing. Doctors who oppose these pills on moral/ethical grounds face a dilemma when their professional organization turns a blind eye to the legitimate questions they raise about the pill’s impact on women’s overall health and well-being.”

CWA is disappointed with the AAP’s decision to abandon abstinence-only counseling, and regrets that many teenagers will be misled into “safe sex” propaganda-a prescription for disaster.

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