The foundation of the abstinence-only policy was laid in 1981 under President Regan when the United States Congress passed the Adolescent Family Life Act (AFLA) administered by the Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Programs (OAPP) (Denny, 2006). The main purpose of this this proposal was to keep sexual relationships until marriage (Weaver, 2005). The AFLA became founded on the belief of funding and developing abstinence-only based curricula in public schools throughout the United States (Weaver, 2005).
Federal funding for abstinence-only programs in public schools was provided by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PL 104-193), also known as the Welfare Reform Act of 1995 (Wiley, 2002). PL 104-193 provides $50 million dollars annually for five years for abstinence-only health education programs, with states providing a $3 match for every $4 of federal funds received (Wiley, 2002). Recently, abstinence education grants have been awarded directly to community groups under the Special Projects of Regional and National Significance, a program that in 2005 became the Community Based Abstinence Education Program (Denny, 2006).
A challenge in creating and implementing effective policy is to achieve a balance between sound science and political pragmatism that meets the needs of a population. More importantly, policies directed at adolescents may be particularly effective as factors outside of the home are becoming increasingly important at this stage of development in shaping behaviors known to affect health including smoking, eating, and sexual practices (Stover, 2003). Needless to say, a substantial amount of federal dollars support abstinence-only education. Programming that is not meeting the needs of American adolescents, and has not proven to be effective.
3.3 Historical Approaches to Investigation
Indicate how other researchers have approached and studied the problem in the past. If the topic has not been studied in the past, cite and discuss--by topic--how related studies were conducted.
The role of educating students about the importance of healthy sexual relationships has fallen hard and fast on public schools. School aged boys and girls are not receiving information from their parents on what decisions they should make in regards to sex. Parents are finding this topic of conversation too taboo to breach and as a result, students are getting what little information they are receiving from school. Less then half of school aged adolescents talk to their parents about sex and abstinence (Smith, 2005).
The philosophy behind abstinence-only policy implies that the greatest risk of informing students about their options for contraception would be that educators are condoning premarital sex. The risks that our students are already taking, however, are greater then policymakers are considering. It is generally accepted that the majority of sexual intercourse among young people remains...