In a blatantly biased and a shamelessly self-promoting press release, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) announced the release of their “ground-breaking” publication, SIECUS State Profiles: A Portrait of Sexuality Education and Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs in the States. The publication is the result of two years of “research” and claims to be the “most complete” and “comprehensive” portrait of “what the nation’s young people are, and in many cases, are not learning with respect to their sexual health,” according to Tamara Kreinin, president and CEO of SIECUS.
The press release provides “major findings” — listing the states that received sexuality education funding and providing sketchy information about the restrictions in the funding. This publicly available information is not news.
The press release provides further findings about federal funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs — a list of the states receiving such funding and the broad funding streams under which it was provided. This information is not news, either.
Under the findings regarding Title V money (part of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act), SIECUS made broad claims without providing any facts. For instance, they report that sub-granting makes it difficult to track money; some programs, they claim, lack oversight and evaluation; other programs, they say, are medically inaccurate and rely on fear and shame-based messages. Horrors, other programs are religious in nature.
Under the SPRANS-CBAE and AFLA money (Special Programs of Regional and National Significance-Community Based Abstinence Education, and Adolescent Family Life Act) the chief complaint is that grants are mostly given to Southern states and to groups that “pose” as medical providers (crisis pregnancy centers and “anti-abortion” groups). “These organizations,” according to SIECUS, “run programs that consistently use medical misinformation, including anti-abortion messages, are religious in nature, and are biased against homosexuals. All lack oversight and evaluation.” This, remember, is supposed to be legitimate research and analysis — two years in the making — not biased propaganda.
Kreinin claims that 61 percent of young people have sexual intercourse before they graduate from high school and that “unproven” abstinence programs leave “too many of our kids at risk.” The fact of having sexual intercourse, in her reasoning, is NOT the problem facing today’s teens. Kreinin’s conclusion is that funding for abstinence programs should stop immediately and that money, instead, go toward funding comprehensive programs “that work.” Those programs are the basis for SIECUS’ income and give a hint as to the source of the bias in the SIECUS report.