Policy and Advocacy
Publications on Policy and Advocacy Print

Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs: Ineffective, Unethical, and Poor Public Health (Policy Brief) (Order publication - $2.00)
The public supports a broad sex education curriculum that stresses abstinence as the best way to avoid unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) but that also conveys complete and medically accurate information about contraception and condoms. Despite these strong public preferences, the federal government has invested more than $1.5 billion in state and federal dollars since 1997 into prescriptive abstinence-only and abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that are, at best, ineffective and wasteful and, at worst, misleading and dangerous to America’s youth. Learn the truth about abstinence-only education in this Policy Brief.

Achieving the Millennium Development Goals (The Facts)
Eleven years ago, the leaders of 189 countries came together at the Millennium Summit and pledged to eliminate poverty; create a climate for sustainable development; and ensure human rights, peace, and security for the entire world’s people. Eight overarching Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) measure progress towards this vision. While none of the MDGs explicitly references protecting young people’s reproductive health, this is essential to alleviating poverty.

Advocacy Kit for Growing Up Global: the Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries (available online only)
To facilitate use of the data in Growing Up Global by adult and youth activists working on youth reproductive and sexual health issues, Advocates for Youth and Population Reference Bureau have developed this advocacy kit. The advocacy kit provides a series of fact sheets on the data and policy recommendations drawn from the publication, as well as calls to action and advocacy tips. Fact sheet topics include youth sexual and reproductive health; youth and marriage; youth and parenting; and youth and education. The material can be used by advocates to inform and enhance their existing advocacy strategy on youth reproductive and sexual health; to educate and influence decision-makers and funders; as hand-outs for leaders during lobby visits, meetings and conferences; and other advocacy activities.

Affirming the Rights of Young People at United Nations World Summits and Conferences (The Facts) (available online only)
Afirmando los Derechos de los Jóvenes en las Cumbres y Conferencias Mundiales de las Naciones Unidas
The United Nations periodically convenes world summits and conferences that focus on important public issues and draw high levels of political participation, including heads of states. Such summits and conferences may mobilize governments, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and civil society to act on urgent global problems. The meetings also allow member states to agree to goals and commit to acting to achieve those goals.

Five Years of Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Education: Assessing the Impact (Report) (available online only)
Teens in the United States continue to suffer from among the highest birth and STI in the industrialized world. Debate over the best way to help teens avoid, or reduce, their sexual risk-taking behavior has polarized many youth-serving professionals. In 1996, Congress signed into law the Personal Responsibility & Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act, or "welfare reform." Attached was the provision, later set out in Section 510(b) of Title V of the Social Security Act, appropriating $250 million dollars over five years for state initiatives promoting sexual abstinence outside of marriage as the only acceptable standard of behavior for young people. From 1998 to 2003, almost a half a billion dollars in state and federal funds were appropriated to support the Title V initiative. As the first five-year funding cycle of Title V came to a close, a few state-funded evaluations became public. Others were completed with little or no fanfare. This document reviews the findings from the 10 evaluations that Advocates for Youth was able to identify. Advocates for Youth also includes evaluation results from California's earlier attempt at a statewide abstinence-only initiative.

Holding the GHI Accountable (Advocacy Toolkit)
As a young person in a country where GHI currently operates or soon will operate, you have a unique ability to hold GHI accountable to youth, and therefore, to help your government and the U.S. government achieve the goals of improved health outcomes. This advocacy toolkit is intended for you to understand the structure of the GHI, and your power to leverage youth interests within it.

Illinois Abstinence-Only Programs— Disseminating Inaccurate and Biased Information (Policy Brief) (available online only)
In Fiscal Year 2007, Illinois received more than $7.6 million in federal funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage programming, with 41 grantees across the state receiving funds for abstinence-only programs in schools and communities. Given the extent of abstinence-only programs in the state, many young people in Illinois are exposed to the dangerous short-comings of these programs. This report reviews four popular abstinence-only curricula used in Illinois for inaccuracies, misinformation, and biases that put the state’s youth at risk.

Improving U.S. Global AIDS Policy for Young People: Assessing PEPFAR (Report) (available online only)
Under former President Bush’s administration, U.S. government policies severely limited the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR’s) use of effective, science-based, public health strategies to reduce HIV transmission among youth. This report discusses three major shortcomings of policies under PEPFAR and the Office of Global AIDS Coordinator (OGAC): that ideology trumps science in PEPFAR’s HIV prevention strategy for young people; that OGAC resists linking HIV prevention with reproductive health care and services; and that HIV-positive adolescents receive inadequate attention as a vulnerable population.

Improving U.S. Global HIV Prevention for Youth (Policy Brief) (available online only)
This document explains why the Bush Administration’s insistence on a “segmented” approach to the ABCs of HIV prevention (abstinence, be faithful, use condoms) is not supported by science and leads to increased HIV rates among young people in low and middle income countries.

Medical Organizations Support Condom Use (Issues at a Glance) (available online only)
Here Advocates has collected position statements from many medical organizations, including the American Medical Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Pediatrics – all supporting youth access to condoms and information about condoms.
Protection Against Transmission of HIV for Women and Youth Act of 2007

One Billion Dollars for U.S. International Family Planning Assistance (Policy Brief) (available online only)
An appropriation in the U.S. Fiscal Year 2009 and 2010 budgets of one billion dollars for international family planning would significantly increase young people’s access to family planning services and supplies and provide them with the tools they so desperately need to delay too early childbearing, avoid unplanned pregnancy, and safely space their children. Such an appropriation would also greatly reduce young women’s reliance on unsafe abortion. Funding international family planning at levels of need is cost effective.

Responsible Education About Life (REAL) Act (The Facts) (available online only)
The Responsible Education About Life (REAL) Act would provide federal money to support responsible sex education in schools. This education would include science-based, medically accurate, and age appropriate public health information about both abstinence and contraception. This fact sheet outlines the need for the REAL Act and explains its provisions.

Revisiting the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV and AIDS (The Facts) (available online only)
Repaso de la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas, Sesión Especial sobre el VIH/SIDA
This fact sheet summarizes the commitments that were made by member states regarding youth in 2001; the additional language included in the Political Declaration in 2006; data that highlights the current status of the HIV and AIDS pandemic; and some of the key social, cultural, and political barriers to effective HIV prevention for youth. Finally, it issues a call to action to fulfill the commitments made in 2001 and re-affirmed in 2006 to achieve a world without HIV and AIDS.

Rights. Respect. Responsibility.® Campaign Kit (Toolkit) (available online only)
The December 2001 issue of Transitions is Advocates' Rights. Respect. Responsibility.® (3Rs) Campaign Kit. The kit is dedicated to encouraging you—the youth-serving professional, health care provider, educator, parent, policymaker, and youth activist—to join with us in our efforts to change the way society deals with adolescent reproductive and sexual health.

The History of Federal Abstinence-Only Funding (The Facts) (Order publication - $1.00)
This document presents the eight-point definition of abstinence-only education; discusses federal funding streams for abstinence-only, the content required of funded curricula, and programs’ administration and oversight; and concludes with a chart detailing the federal funding directed to abstinence-only programs since 1982.

The Social Conservatives’ War on Condoms (Policy Brief) (available online only)
Conservatives in the United States Congress are waging war on public confidence in condoms. Domestically in the United States and through U.S. foreign policy, these social conservatives are promoting a sexual health agenda based far more in ideology than grounded in public health science. Learn more about the “war on condoms” and how it is hurting young people in America and around the world.

Youth in the Global Health Initiative (Policy Brief)
The Global Health Initiative (GHI) is an innovative and pragmatic approach to eliminating inefficiency and waste in U.S. global health programs. But in order to maximize its potential to save lives and improve health, and to guarantee the rights of young people in countries receiving funds, it must be more explicit in making youth a priority. This document provides some background on youth issues in the Global Health Initiative, and provides recommendations as to how the GHI can best empower young people to protect their health and to become health advocates in their own right.

Youth's Reproductive Health: Key to Achieving the Millennium Development Goals at the Country Level (Issues at a Glance) (available online only)
In 2000, the leaders of 189 countries came together at the Millennium Summit and pledged to: eliminate poverty; create a climate for sustainable development; and ensure human rights, peace, and security for the entire world's people. Eight overarching Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) measure progress towards this vision. None of the MDGs explicitly references youth's reproductive health, even though its relationship to alleviating poverty cannot be overlooked. This paper describes actions governments must take to move toward creating a healthy and economically secure populace.

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