By Michael Benjamin
This week, NYC Parents Choice coalition took its grassroots campaign for an alternative medically accurate abstinence-centered sex education curriculum to the steps of City Hall. We were joined by Greg Pfundstein (Chiaroscuro Foundation), Rev. Michel Faulkner (New Horizon Church), Chaplain Viviana Hernandez (United Chaplains of NYS), Rev. Myrna Calderon, Father Peter Pomposello, and others.
After hearing from the assembled speakers, the City Hall press corps asked questions. A WNYC radio reporter tried questioning the effectiveness of an abstinence-based sex ed program by citing the out-of-wedlock pregnancy of Bristol Palin, daughter of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
The reporter seemed combative as he asked questions that seemed dismissive of abstinence as a sex education strategy. Another asked how likely are we to succeed given that NYC is a liberal bastion.
See the Your Free Press video coverage here.
Greg Pfundstein effectively described the city’s comprehensive sex ed program as a “wink and a nod” approval of teenage premarital sexual involvement. He described homework assignments requiring students to catalog condom varieties at local stores and to list services offered at family planning clinics as activities promoting – rather than avoiding— sexual involvement.
“We are not asking the city to stop offering sex education. We are asking the city to offer medically-accurate, evidence-based, abstinence-centered education as an alternative for parents who prefer it,” said Pfundstein.
Chaplain Viviana Hernandez scorned the sexualization of children in the popular media. Chaplain Hernandez said that the city’s comprehensive sex education program gives young people a false sense of security. She asked, “Would we use a parachute if it had a 15% failure rate?”
Rev. Faulkner warned that the “house is on fire” and our children need the kind of sex education that will save their lives. Give parents the best option and give our kids the best education possible. He cited young women in his church who want to know how to resist the pressure to have sex. These teens want their parents involved. The NYC Parents Choice campaign empowers parents to determine the outcome of this mandate.
WCBS News Radio’s Rich Lamb aired a fair and balanced report. He referred to our program as “sex education Plan B.” Listen to it here.
1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reported Greg Pfundstein’s rebuttal of Chancellor Walcott’s earlier response that we are sticking our heads in the sand.
El Diario-La Prensa was the only news outlet to report, both online and in print, about our robocall campaign, in English and Spanish, urging parents to call the city to demand an abstinence-based sex education curriculum. El Diario reported that the Department of Education did not return their call for a comment.
However, in a statement released to WNYC Radio, Chancellor Dennis Walcott, said there needs to be a consistent curriculum across the city that teaches about the merits of abstinence and also instructs students "how to keep themselves safe."
"The city has been using its current program, called 'Health Smart' and 'Reducing the Risk,' for several years at some schools, but it only became mandatory district-wide in August," Walcott said. "It’s produced by a California-based company that gets funding from the National Institutes of Health, among others."
Chancellor Walcott failed to disclose that ETR, the California-based company that produces the city’s comprehensive sex education curriculum, was once the publishing arm of Planned Parenthood before it was spun off. ETR, like its parent company, is invested in Planned Parenthood’s condom education agenda.
The NYC Parents Choice Coalition is taking a stand against the New York City sex education mandate. We represent parents who don't want their children sent to the corner drug store to catalogue condom brands, or to visit the nearest abortion clinic to inquire about its confidentially policy, or to be referred to a sexuality-explicit website.