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New Legal Momentum Publication Exposes How Abstinence-Only Programs Harm Women and Girls

Report titled Sex, Lies & Stereotypes is Subject of Panel Discussion

February 26 on Capitol Hill

NEW YORK, Feb. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Legal Momentum, the nation's oldest legal advocacy organization dedicated to advancing the rights of women and girls, announces the publication of Sex, Lies, and Stereotypes: How Abstinence-Only Programs Harm Women and Girls, a new report exposing the deceitful and sexist messages of abstinence-only programs and highlighting the harm to our youth, and women and girls in particular, of this government- funded mis-education.

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Legal Momentum Senior Staff Attorney Julie Kay, author of the report, will present these findings at a panel discussion on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, February 26 at 3:00 p.m., Rayburn House Office Building Room 2203. Joining Kay on the panel will be Jamila Taylor, Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), and Jen Heitel Yakush, Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS). Representative Henry A. Waxman, Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, is honorary co-sponsor of the event.

Sex, Lies & Stereotypes is the most comprehensive examination to date of the nature and extent of these federally funded programs. It calls on parents, teens, policymakers and anyone who cares about public health to demand an end to the senseless and harmful funding of abstinence-only programs.

Disturbing data recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that teen birthrates in the United States jumped 3% from 2005 to 2006 after more than 15 years of steady decline. This evolving national crisis calls for honest and comprehensive sex education for teens about the risks of sexual activity. The federal government has instead spent over $1.5 billion on politically motivated programs that have failed for decades. The following facts are highlighted in the report:

* Reliable, scientific evidence shows that abstinence-only programs fail to positively change teens' sexual behavior.

* These programs have significant potential to exacerbate the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, as well as increase unplanned teen pregnancies.

* While abstinence-only programs target both boys and girls, in practice they contain misinformation and gender stereotypes that have debilitating effects on women and girls worldwide.

Sex, Lies & Stereotypes is the outgrowth of an experts meeting Legal Momentum held in 2006 in partnership with the Human Rights Project at Harvard Law School and the Program on International Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health.

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. With headquarters in New York City and offices in Washington, D.C., it is a national leader in establishing legal, legislative, and educational strategies to secure equality and justice from women. Legal Momentum uses public policy, litigation, and public education and outreach to address specific issues in the 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. Legal Momentum's Sexuality and Family Rights program works to promote women's autonomy, protect women's sexual and reproductive rights, and expose the government's funding and promotion of policies that limit these rights.

This report is available as a PDF on our website at

Contact: Altagracia Levat, Legal Momentum


SOURCE Legal Momentum
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