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Harm of Abstinence-Only Programs in U.S. and Abroad Subject of Panel Discussion at Two Maine College Campuses
Date:1/28/2008

Leading Advocates for Women's Health and Rights call for an End to

Government Funding for Failed Abstinence-Only Programs

NEW YORK, Jan. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Legal Momentum, in partnership with the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) and the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), will hold panel discussions at Bowdoin College (January 29) and at the University of Southern Maine Portland campus (January 30) as part of the organizations' national campaign to end U.S. government funding for domestic and international programs that teach abstinence-only-until-marriage. These two events follow a standing-room only event in September 2006 at the Harvard Law School.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20071108/NYTH016LOGO )

Legal Momentum, CHANGE, and SIECUS seek to mobilize communities to take action at the local level and join the national movement against government funding for abstinence-only programs. The events come in the wake of staggering data released recently by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showing that the teen birthrate in the United States jumped 3% from 2005 to 2006 after more than 15 years of steady decline. In addition, the U.S. Congress is currently in the midst of activity around reauthorization of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the U.S. global AIDS initiative that currently restricts 33% of HIV prevention funds to ideologically-based abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.

Numerous studies provide conclusive evidence that abstinence-only-until- marriage programs, at home and abroad, do not lead to positive changes in teen sexual behavior, are particularly harmful to women and girls because they promote dangerous and outdated stereotypes, potentially exacerbate the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, and increase the risk of unplanned pregnancy for teens. These times demand honest and comprehensive information about the risks of sexual activity -- and how to responsibly handle those risks.

WHAT: Panel presentation and Q&A on Harm of Abstinence-only Programs in

U.S. and Abroad

WHO: Julie F. Kay, Senior Staff Attorney

Sexuality and Family Rights Program, Legal Momentum

Speaking on: Abstinence-Only Programs: Harmful to Women and Girls

Serra Sippel, Executive Director, Center for Health and Gender

Equity (CHANGE)

Speaking on: Exporting the U.S. Abstinence-Only Agenda

William Smith, Vice President for Public Policy

Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States

(SIECUS)

Speaking on: Challenges and Successes in Opposing Abstinence-Only

WHEN & TUESDAY, JANUARY 29, 2008, 7:00 P.M.

WHERE: Kresge Auditorium, Visual Arts Center

Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 30, 2008, 5:30 P.M.

University Events Room, Glickman Library, 7th Fl.

University of Southern Maine, Portland, Maine

About Legal Momentum

Founded in 1970, Legal Momentum is the nation's oldest legal advocacy organization dedicated to advancing the rights of women and girls. Legal Momentum has been a leader in establishing legal, legislative, and educational strategies to secure equality and justice for women across the country. Its public policy and litigation agenda focus on four areas that are of greatest concern to women in the United States: freedom from violence against women, equal work and equal pay; the health of women and girls; and strong families and strong communities.

http://www.legalmomentum.org

About SIECUS

SIECUS advocates for the right of all people to accurate information, comprehensive education about sexuality, and sexual health services.

http://www.siecus.org

About the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)

CHANGE works to ensure that U.S. international policies and programs promote sexual and reproductive health and rights through effective, evidence- based approaches to prevention and treatment of critical reproductive and sexual health concerns, and through increased funding for vital programs.
http://www.genderhealth.org

CONTACTS:

Altagracia Levat

Legal Momentum

212-413-7510

Patrick Malone

SIECUS

212-819-9770 Ext. 316


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SOURCE Legal Momentum
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