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Are abstenice-only programs getting a make-over?

Welcome to our summer intern Courtney who's going to be doing some posting for us over the next couple of months. Take it away, Courtney:

The Nation has an article by Jessica Valenti about the "virginity movement" (the abstinence-only crowd) trying to re-brand itself. She writes:

The virginity movement is much more than the same old sexism; it's a targeted and well-funded backlash hellbent on rolling back women's rights using modernized notions of purity, morality and sexuality. Its goals are mired in old-school gender roles, and its primary tool is young women's sexuality.

Now it seems that they are trying to create a new image after years of comparing sexually-active girls to lollipops (Once they have sex they become a poorly wrapped saliva-covered sucker) It’s about time.

The abstinence-only programs will now be called abstinence-centered and try to educate the students on more than just not having sex. They say they want to teach teenagers how to live healthy lives and be much more science based. From the article:

At an April 29 Capitol Hill briefing, Huber told the room that abstinence-only education is "not a 'just say no' message." "This is not abstinence only, this is a holistic message that prepares and gives students all of the information they need to make healthy decisions," he said.

The virginity movement is also attempting to legitimize its message by rebranding itself as science-based. The newly renamed Medical Institute (formerly known as the Medical Institute of Sexual Health), for example, touts itself as being founded to "confront the global epidemics of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.... We identify and evaluate scientific information on sexual health and promote healthy sexual decisions and behaviors by communicating credible scientific information."

I hope for the sake of the teens being educated by these programs that the change is real and will be a success. Time will tell.