- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 15, 2003

When Americans hear the "exact wording" of sex-education messages, they reject ones that teach safe-sex techniques and support those that promote abstinence and marriage, says a new Zogby International poll released by a coalition of traditional-values groups.
"When parents are told what 'comprehensive' means, they reject condom-based curricula," Genevieve Wood of the Family Research Council said Thursday.
"Congress should see this poll as unqualified support from parents for the Bush administration's goal to raise funding for abstinence-until-marriage education in this year's budget," said Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America.
The Zogby poll of 1,245 parents was taken last month.
Parents were read verbatim statements from the Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education, which were developed in 1990 by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and others.
Parents were asked for their views on teaching these guidelines to children.
The poll revealed many objections for instance, two-thirds of parents strongly disapproved of telling children ages 5 to 8 details about sexual intercourse or masturbation, or telling children ages 9 to 12 that "homosexual love relationships can be as satisfying as heterosexual relationships."
Most parents also disapproved of teaching 12-to-15-year-olds that "two people who live together can have the same commitment and responsibility toward one another as married people."
In contrast, more than half of parents supported verbatim statements from National Guidelines for Sexuality and Character Education, developed in 1996 by the Medical Institute for Sexual Health.
Parents strongly supported teaching their children that "sexual or physical intimacy should occur between two people involved in a lifelong, mutually faithful, marriage commitment," and "When adolescents abstain from premarital sex, they don't need to worry about sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, having a baby or getting an abortion."
"Organizations advocating for the promotion of condoms for adolescents are using deception and sleight of hand to advance their agenda," said Rep. Dave Weldon, Florida Republican. Parents and the public "overwhelmingly embrace" character-based abstinence education, said Mr. Weldon, who is also a physician.
Gloria Feldt, president of Planned Parenthood, said the Zogby results were manipulated. The poll showed that 58 percent or "most of the parents surveyed believe it is important for adolescents to have 'good knowledge of condoms/contraceptives and their use,'" she said.
On Thursday, the House passed a bill to reauthorize the 1996 welfare-reform law, which includes a $50 million-a-year abstinence-education grant program.
The Zobgy poll, which was supported by Focus on the Family, Eagle Forum, Christian Coalition of America, Traditional Values Coalition and the National Abstinence Clearinghouse, also found that:
Sixty-two percent of parents strongly disapprove of sex education that teaches children ages 12 to 15 how to "practice" using condoms.
Sixty-five percent of parents strongly disapprove of teaching children 9 to 15 that they can become "close" with someone by "body massage," bathing together or viewing erotic materials.
When parents were asked about "your child's school" providing birth control "without your knowledge or approval," 69 percent said they disapprove.

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