California woman protests abstinence-only sex education program

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com December 28 2002 12:00 AM ET

A California woman has requested that the Mount Diablo school district in Concord, Calif., end an abstinence-only sex education program for middle school students because the program is run by an anti-abortion group that is giving "biased and graphic" information about abortions to the students, the Contra Costa Times reports. Renee Walker sent a letter to the school district and the state superintendent after she learned that her son had participated in an eight-day program called "CryBabies" that was conducted by First Resort, a Christian pregnancy counseling service that opposes abortion.

Walker said she became concerned about the program when her son reported that the sex education classes focused heavily on abortion, including graphic descriptions of many of the specific medical procedures involved with having an abortion. She also said the program did not provide any information on how to prevent pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases other than abstinence. "What I send my kids to school for is to get an education," she said. "My expectation is that education is going to be based on educationally sound, research-based, age-appropriate information. I don't expect a political agenda in school."

The CryBabies program was pulled from Oakland, Calif., schools in 2000 after another parent complained of inaccurate information, but the school district reinstated the program after the material was "updated and revised," according to the Times. CryBabies program director Deborah Morris defended the program, saying it provides "unbiased and factual information." Mount Diablo school district officials plan to meet in January to discuss its health curriculum, including the CryBabies program.