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Abstinence-Only Adolescent Education: Ineffective, Unpopular, and Unconstitutional
University of San Francisco Law Review
  • James McGrath, Texas A&M University School of Law
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Abstinence-only and abstinence-only-until-marriage education programs, ostensibly designed to prevent unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease ("STD") infection, are a waste of valuable public health resources of both time and money. These ideologically based interventions interfere with serious, effective public health education and must be dismantled. Not only are abstinence-only programs ineffective for their intended purpose, they are dangerous in that they fail to protect our nation's youth against serious and potentially deadly diseases. Furthermore, these programs unconstitutionally violate both the Establishment Clause and the unconstitutional conditions doctrine.

Part I of this Article reviews the history of abstinence-only education funding legislation and explores some of the inconsistencies these laws inflict into the struggle to protect the health of this nations' adolescents. Part II discusses the effect of these abstinence-only programs on HIV/STD prevention. Part III addresses how these programs fail to address the needs of gay and lesbian students. Part IV addresses the constitutional deficiencies of current federal funding for abstinence-only education. Finally, Part V suggests ways of implementing comprehensive sexual education.

Citation Information
James McGrath. "Abstinence-Only Adolescent Education: Ineffective, Unpopular, and Unconstitutional" University of San Francisco Law Review Vol. 38 (2004) p. 665
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