One of them is California Representative Henry Waxman, a Democrat who chairs the Committee on Government Oversight and Reform.
Back in 2004, Waxman compiled a report on the medical inaccuracies found throughout abstinence-only programs. Last month he continued to address this theme and held a hearing called, Domestic Abstinence-Only Programs: Assessing the Evidence. This was basically supposed to be a research-based critique of government funded abstinence-only program.
Among others, Waxman invited college student Shelby Knox (the subject of the documentary,The Education of Shelby Knox) to speak about her experiences with abstinence-only education and virginity pledges. She told the committee: "As a young person with firsthand experience about the misinformation, shame, guilt, and intolerance propagated by these programs, I urge you to eliminate funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs and instead to allocate those funds to comprehensive, medically accurate sex education that provides young people with the tools they need to make responsible, informed decisions about their sexual health."
He also brought in big names in the health field including the head of the American Public Health Association and the chair of the committee on adolescence from the American Academy of Pediatrics to speak about the programs. Like all the other speakers, they cited studies demonstrating the serious flaws with abstinence-only education.
Unfortunately, Matthew Blake, a blogger for the Reality Check website reports, “Instead of analyzing these studies, a four-hour hearing by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform rarely moved beyond championing the value of pre-marital abstinence.”
Henry Waxman has shown us that he cares about this issue. I hope his attempts at educating his fellow politicians don’t continue to get hijacked by those who can’t let go of the notion that abstinence is the only way.