UN Sneers But Teen STAR Abstinence Program Gets Results

International   Samantha Singson and Amanda Pawloski   Dec 30, 2010   |   4:22PM    Washington, DC

Nothing gets the debate burning hotter at the UN than one over sex education for children. Last Fall conservative UN delegations angrily protested a report claiming for children a new right to “comprehensive sexuality education.”

At another meeting last year, when the Holy See promoted abstinence-based programs, liberal delegations met the proposal with sneers and laughter.

While some at the UN sneer, an innovative abstinence-based education program is seeing results. Dr. Hanna Klaus, a medical missionary nun and veteran OB/GYN, developed the Teen STAR program that educates adolescents about their fertility with natural family planning techniques.

The program’s name, Teen STAR (Sexuality Teaching in the context of Adult Responsibility) expresses the mission of the program. According to Klaus, Teen STAR gives young people “concrete ways of responding to the corresponding emotional changes and pressures,” while empowering them through a better understanding of their own biological fertility patterns.

Klaus denounces sexual education programs that do nothing but preach a negative view of sexuality. “Neither the provision of contraception nor the exhortation to preserve chastity serves adolescents’ need to integrate their now-present biological capacity to procreate into their operational self-concepts,” she believes.

Klaus’s program is designed to do more than educate adolescents to avoid pregnancy and STDs. Teen STAR asserts that during their year long program over 90 percent of female and male virgins remain abstinent, while 40-50% of previously sexually active females and 30-50% of previously sexually active males discontinued sexual activity. Teen STAR also boasts a rigorous scientific methodology.

Rather than offering a synthesized curriculum, the Teen STAR program addresses males and females specifically. Teenage boys are taught respect for their always present fertility, while teenage girls are educated on their cyclical fertility patterns that effect their overall emotional, psychological, and even spiritual well-being. The result is a program that integrates various disciplines to help adolescents’ self-understanding and resist social pressure beyond sex.

Natural family planning, which is primarily based on biology and fertility education, may be gaining at least a modicum of popularity in other international aid agencies, perhaps because of its cost-effectiveness. Last week USAID introduced “birth control you can download to your phone,” referring to iCycleBeads, a smart phone app that allows women to track their menstrual cycle. Natural family planning experts point out, however, that counting methods, also know as the rhythm method, are far less effective than more sophisticated methods such as tracking a woman’s temperature and mucous viscosity.

UNESCO set off a firestorm of criticism a few months ago when it released a set of sexual education guidelines that met with such staunch resistance that the organization was forced to take down the document from its website and review.  The report insisted that sexual education include information on “sexual diversity.”  The UNESCO guidelines recommended teaching 5 year olds about masturbation and getting 14 year- olds to advocate for abortion “rights.”

LifeNews.com Note: Samantha Singson and Amanda Pawloski write for the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute. This article originally appeared in the pro-life group’s Friday Fax publication and is used with permission.