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New US abstinence programme guidelines criticised

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 30 March 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:748
  1. Janice Tanne
  1. New York

    A US Congressman and two not for profit health policy organisations have said that new guidelines for government funded programmes advocating sexual abstinence are false, misleading, and dangerous. The guidelines must be followed by organisations seeking federal grants for abstinence programs. The newly expanded rules, published at the end of January 2006, say that to get funding, such courses must teach teenagers that abstinence from all sexual activity—which, as defined by the rules, might include kissing—is the norm until marriage, that contraceptives often fail, and that abstinence until marriage will lead to a longer, healthier, more prosperous life (

    “I ask that the entire funding announcement be retracted,” said …

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