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Anna Sheffer
June 22, 2018 10:06 am

Even though research has shown time and time again that abstinence-only sex education is highly ineffective — and can even be harmful — there are schools across the country that continue to teach it. But now, Planned Parenthood is fighting back by suing the Trump administration official responsible for pushing abstinence-only education on our country’s students.

Broadly reported today, June 22nd, that Planned Parenthood has filed a lawsuit against Valerie Huber, a Department of Health and Human Services official. Huber, along with HHS Secretary Alex Azar, reformed the nationwide Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program to teach abstinence until marriage and “sexual risk avoidance.”

According to the HHS website, an abstinence-only approach is “evidence-based,” but Planned Parenthood’s law suit argues that it has not been proven effective. Sonya Norsworthy, the interim vice president of education at Planned Parenthood, told Broadly that Huber’s history of advocating for abstinence-only education was harmful.

"We’ve seen firsthand how information, education, and resources empower young people to plan their futures and stay healthy," Norsworthy told Broadly in a statement. "Abstinence-only programs are not only ineffective, they shame and stigmatize LGBTQ youth and survivors of sexual assault."

In March, Politico reported that Huber had been given full authority over the distribution of family planning funds. They noted that prior to joining the Trump administration, she was the CEO of Ascend, an organization dedicated to promoting abstinence-only education.

Abstinence-only policies are not “evidence-based.” They fail to teach students how to adequately protect themselves, and some programs even perpetuate psychologically damaging myths — like that having sex for the first time turns our bodies into “used chewing gum.”

We’re glad to see Planned Parenthood challenging these toxic — and downright dangerous — education programs.

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