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A More Accurate Way of Talking about Sexual Abstinence

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy
The Truth Network Radio
October 23, 2017 2:14 pm

A More Accurate Way of Talking about Sexual Abstinence

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy

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October 23, 2017 2:14 pm

Our guest is Mary Anne Mosack, Executive Director of Ascend, an advocacy organization that works in the realm of Sexual Risk Avoidance education. She discusses how to help teens make wise and healthy decisions about activities and relationships, especially when it comes to human sexuality.



Leaders are waking up to the fact that this is how little information that can have an impact not only on the individual, society as well is family policy with NC family Pres. John Weston thanks for joining us this week for family policy matters. Today we will be talking about incredibly important topic, helping teams make wise and healthy decisions about activities and relationships, especially when it comes to human sexuality are just Mary and Mo Zach is the Executive Director of us send a national membership and advocacy organization works in the realm of sexual risk avoidance. Noah soon promotes an accurate understanding and appreciation of sexual risk avoidance is a primary prevention method and message for teams.

Mary and Mozart. Welcome to family policy matters. It's great to have you on the show. Thank you very much John.

It's a pleasure to be here.

Well try to have you marry, and we appreciate so much the work that you do. Mary and a lot of times we need to keep straight women were talking about various approaches to sexual education.

Let's begin by defining some of those terms for listeners. The talk if you would about the similarities and differences between sexual risk avoidance education which many of our listeners will know as abstinence education and sexual risk reduction education, which is a different approach will sure are actually sexual risk avoidance just to clarify for your listeners is a more accurate way of talking about national abstinence is a word that has a lot of baggage mischaracterization attached to it and it really needed a clearer and more definitive understanding in the public square soap sexual risk avoidance is based on a primary prevention public health model known as risk and it is a good frame public health model actually that we used to address behaviors like smoking and underage drinking and drug use so you smoking as an example, the risk avoidance message in our public health arena is basically if you don't smoke, don't start if you do, so here are ways you can stop that risk behavior so I sexual risk avoidance. Eight. Education is using an optimal health model that is used to address teams facts which the CDC as you know, identify as risk behavior.

Now, sexual risk reduction is also a model public health model and as the name indicates, it's a risk reduction approach and it starts with the premise that teens are going to have sex and they need to know how to reduce the potential risks. Typically, pregnancy and contracting of an STD. But what what what we also know about risk reduction is that some risks still remain felt the primary focus of an sexual risk reduction course is to increase condom and contraceptive use and that is really where the two approaches are different. We are coming from the view that we want to our help, used to eliminate risk for sexual risk reduction.

Of course they're coming from an approach to just reduce the risk. Will Mary and what we know about the relationship between student sexual activity and their educational and life outcomes both in the short and long term, particularly when you compare a sexual risk avoidance approach versus a sexual risk reduction approach will actually we know a lot the social science research is is very prolific when it comes to out life outcomes or teens who are sexually active and basically the benefits of sexual delay. 14 really cannot be overstated. In addition to know better academic success. They have other life-changing outcomes that are very important and one of the things that we incorporate into our sexual risk avoidance education is research from the Brookings Institute based on what they call the success sequence and it's really a very simple formula and it's a poverty prevention formula basically goes like this finished school and then it is to say, finish high school. They have modified it to say, finished high school and get some kind of post education training and then get a full-time job doesn't have to be a high-paying job that has to be full-time and then wait until you're 21 and married before you have children, so it is prescriptive in those three areas, but the results are following that sequence are pretty amazing if you follow note that sequence you have a 2% likelihood of living in poverty and that's that's a pretty compelling statistic. We are always concerned about poverty and poverty prevention as we should be in this country. This simple formula and actually helping to guide students in that kind of a trajectory we could reduce poverty greatly if that formula were at operationalized in their lives. I think one of the questions that immediately brings to mind when we look at the difference in outcomes of these two different approaches is has.

How have they made their way into the arena of public policy and affecting the thought processes and the decisions that are being made by state and national leaders. One of the areas are in particular that I think this order manifests itself is federal funding, and we have been fighting.

I know you been fighting we been fighting for years and years and years. The fact the Congress and the federal government for quite a while have been dedicating a substantial percentage of federal funds for sex education to comprehensive sex education or the risk reduction approach versus to abstinence education war. The risk avoidance approach and but now we we seem to be seeing things are changing them and based on the.

The research that you have referenced seeing policymakers, making wise decisions themselves about the which type of educational approach is most appropriate and most effective talk.

If you would about the federal funding since there have been some recent changes on that front.

And what are the sources of government funding for such education and what is the current status of those okay just to go back for just a moment on the success sequence gets pretty encouraging to know that there is a sexual risk avoidance education grant substantial grant from the federal government and one of the criteria for it" approach to implement your programs is the success sequence so our legislators are waking up to the fact that this is powerful information that can happen at a tremendous impact not only on the individual but his current society as well. In terms of federal funding anywhere what we have left data that right now. Currently there are two state block grant what is called title V and then more recently, there is another state block grant for SRR education called plaque personal responsibility education program and we have finally reached parity, and each of those are block grants are funded at 75 million each.

And that goes out through all of the state. The other funding streams are the teen pregnancy prevention program that was funded under the Obama ministration at about $108 million and then the SRA E education for 15 so you can see there's a quite a disparity between 100,000,015. Now we really active juncture. Don't know the status of teen pregnancy prevention programs on the house has eliminated it from the budget administration has eliminated it and HHS has weighed in and also advise the elimination of the program so we don't know if that program will survive or in what fashion it will survive. In terms of the sexual risk avoidance education grant at 15 million. There is a proposal are in the Senate to increase it by knowing which would bring it up to 25 million so there are funds out there. There is still a great disparity and we are you know a new administration means do look at programs and that's exactly what is happening in terms of the teen pregnancy prevention program in your listers may have read that time. That program has been cut. There's been a lot of press around it and outrage on some income levels but it was actually done very sound reasons and put people you know, unfortunately, don't read about this class, but what HHS found its typical after a program like the teen pregnancy prevention program that you look at the findings.

Okay, so what was the effect of bit of the money that was spent in money. Ladies and gentlemen is like nearly $1 billion. So for sure we want to note that the effective and this is what they found. They found that 80% of the students were in need.

The sexual risk reduction classes actually fared little better or worse than students who were not in the program so three of the programs totaling about $20 million actually increase sexual initiation, teen pregnancy and oral sex.

So these are some very severe negative effects and I think that people need to know that teen pregnancy prevention programs are kind of exalted as being effective and evidence-based.

But when you look at the evidence, it is simply not there. And that's why these programs were cut and that's what brought about the change. I want to make. I want to make this this clear.

Also to your audience because there is a misconception that sexual risk avoidance education do not prepare students at all regarding contraception and actually we do teach on contraception. We teach them the efficacy rates the message, etc. but what we do not do is we don't demonstrate their use in the classroom, but the findings we have on sexual risk avoidance education is that if a student does become sexually active.

Dear she is no more likely to use it, less likely to use a condom than other students so that the charge that we hear often that all kids will have sex and then they will be prepared, but the ER.

The research doesn't back that up. The factual information is provided.

As you said is is important and present for sure and I because I think it's important for listeners to understand that there there are also in as we been dealing with this issue for gracious over 20 years here in North Carolina at the family policy Council you know we've had many many many conversations with folks on the other side of this issue, and legislators who promote the comprehensive sex education will are risk reduction approach my failure just your put your head in the sand and not providing students information that they really need about the facts About case that certain risk avoidance education provides factual, reliable and accurate information about the risks that the teams will be engaging in if they do participate in sexual activity, and I think that's God's important for them to know without ago Mary and I know we probably all spark interest among our listeners and their many I'm sure that have been involved and interested in this topic for years, but I know that soon has a lot of great resources on your website and before we go I want to give you an opportunity to let our listeners know where they can obtain those very valuable resources so that they can utilize them with both their families, their friends and even at their schools absolutely relate does definitely be very pleased far as many people as possible available insults and resources we have and we can be reached at. We and if you go to our homepage you'll see there is a tab for resources and there is almost every topic imaginable that you would like to discuss or have more information on I we actually have it care apparent toolkit on their so if you're a parent and you would like to have sexual risk avoidance education in your school. This is a step-by-step guidance for you so please contact us where words aren't really here to help and God. We really want to be the first line of support for any parent regarding this issue would be that website for listeners, which we again, WV HS, and with that Mary and Mose. I don't want to thank you so much for being with us on family policy matters and for all your great research and hard work to help ensure that young people are making well-informed and healthy decisions in this important area of the thank you very much for having been listening to family policy matters a production of NZ family to listen to our radio show online, and for more valuable resources and information about issues important to families in North Carolina go to our and follow us on Twitter and Facebook

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