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Feminist News


March-04-10

Lawsuit Filed to Obtain USAID International Sex Ed Funding Information

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit demanding public documents from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) concerning any religious elements of their international abstinence-only sex education programs.

Senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project Brigitte Amiri said in an ACLU press release: "The United States government cannot be in the business of exporting religiously infused abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that we know fail to give young people the information they need to stay healthy. It is essential that the government provide all of the information it has about these programs so that the public has a full accounting of how taxpayer dollars are being spent."

The Courthouse News Service reports that the programs are featuring bible stories and verses as part of their instruction. An USAID Inspector General's report (see PDF) lists one such teaching, Psalms 119:9, which states that "God has a plan for sex and this plan will help you and protect you from harm."

The ACLU complaint (see PDF) says "abstinence-only-until-marriage instruction fails to provide youth with the tools they need to make healthy decisions. Indeed, providing information about and access to condoms is crucial in the preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS, and withholding this information can cause serious harm to young people."

Media Resources: ACLU Press Release 2/18/2010; Courthouse News Service 2/22/2010; USAID Inspector General's Report; ACLU Complaint Statement 2/18/2010