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ERIC Number: EJ854534
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Nov
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 16
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0022-4391
Abstinence-What?: A Critical Look at the Language of Educational Approaches to Adolescent Sexual Risk Reduction
Beshers, Sarah
Journal of School Health, v77 n9 p637-639 Nov 2007
Twenty-six years ago, Ronald Reagan signed the Adolescent Family Life Act, and the abstinence education movement began its rapid ascendancy to political dominance, a process marked by increasingly generous federal funding, which reached a peak of $176 million in FY 2006. Throughout this period, a debate ensued over the appropriate approach to teaching about sexual risk reduction in schools: abstinence or harm reduction. Throughout this period, a debate ensued over the appropriate approach to teaching about sexual risk reduction in schools: abstinence or harm reduction. During the intractable quarrels engendered by this conflict, several terms became household words: "abstinence," "abstinence-only education," "abstinence education," "abstinence-only-until-marriage education," "abstinence-based education," "abstinence-plus education," and "comprehensive sex education." Unfortunately, these terms are deficient in 2 ways. One, as other professionals have already noted, these words are vague and open to widely differing definitions. Two, several of them privilege abstinence over harm reduction, and in so doing misrepresent some key parameters of the debate. It is time for health and sexuality educators who favor harm reduction to remember the power of language and of their need to own the terms of the debate.
Wiley-Blackwell. 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148. Tel: 800-835-6770; Tel: 781-388-8598; Fax: 781-388-8232; e-mail: cs-journals@wiley.com; Web site: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A