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Ohio researcher criticizes state's abstinence programs

Ohio researcher criticizes state's abstinence programs

Scott Frank, director of Case Western Reserve University's public health program, issued a report saying that some abstinence programs taught in Ohio middle and high schools contain scientific inaccuracies about contraceptives and cite religious belief as fact. Frank's 29-page report takes issue with several aspects of the materials used in the programs. According to Frank, some of the material incorrectly suggests HIV can be transmitted through tears and open-mouth kissing. One program recommends that teens "follow God's plan for purity," and others overstate the failure rates of condoms and suggest that birth control pills increase the likelihood of infertility, the report stated. Frank said legislators should reexamine the effectiveness of the publicly funded abstinence programs. "I was surprised at what I found," Frank said. "Sometimes I found myself shaking my head, wondering, What decade are we living in?" Cheryl Biddle, executive director of Akron-based Abstinence, the Better Choice, said she would not comment on Frank's report without having seen it. She added, however, that abstinence programs help balance sex education. "We need to support the teenagers who are making the good and healthy choices," Biddle said. (AP)

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