Pediatricians Group Still Under Fire for Opposing Abstinence Education

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 7, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pediatricians Group Still Under Fire for Opposing Abstinence Education Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 7, 2005

Washington, DC ( — A national pediatricians group is still under fire for its recent decision to oppose abstinence-only education for teenagers. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) adopted a resolution earlier this week saying teenagers should also learn about birth control and given access to the morning after pill, which sometimes causes an abortion.

Linda Klepacki, a registered nurse who is a sexual health analyst for Focus on the Family, criticizes the AAP report, which makes suggestions to pediatricians and other health professionals who advise teenagers.

"Abstinence until marriage is the only way to be sure young people are protected from STDs and unintended pregnancies," Klepacki said.

"Despite the fact that the AAP acknowledges teen sexual activity and pregnancy rates have been steadily declining for more than a decade, this report insists that pediatricians should merely advise their patients to postpone early sexual activity. At what age does risky behavior become safe," she asked.

In addition to suggesting that teens be given access to the morning after pill, the AAP report advises that pregnant teenagers be told about abortion as an option.

"It is inappropriate that the AAP leadership should advise policies that promote anything less than the most healthy, responsible behavior for our children," said Dr. Marilyn A. Maxwell of the Physician Resource Council.

"Every teen should be encouraged to practice abstinence, not encouraged to engage in sexual activity because contraception — which is only partially effective in preventing pregnancies or the transmission of STDs — is readily available," Dr. Maxwell added.

Klepacki is also concerned that the American Academy of Pediatrics is undermining the right of parents to direct children’s health decisions.

"Parents are always the primary educators of their children, and it’s clear they don’t want this type of information being foisted on their children. A 2004 Zogby poll found that 96 percent of parents believe that abstinence from sexual activity is best for teens," she explained.