New York State Profile Fiscal Year 2008
The Department of Health and community-based organizations in New York received $7,560,885 in federal funds for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs in Fiscal Year 2008.
Sexuality Education Law and Policy | Recent Legislation | Events of Note | Youth Statistical Information of Note | Title V Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Funding | Community-Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) and Adolescent Family Life Act (AFLA) Grantees | Federal and State Funding for Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs | Adolescent Health Contact | Organizations that Support Comprehensive Sexuality Education | Organizations that Oppose Comprehensive Sexuality Education | Local Newspapers | References
Health education is required for all students in kindergarten through 12th grade in New York. This instruction must provide information about HIV/AIDS. Health education is taught by classroom teachers in kindergarten through sixth grade; in seventh through 12th grades, HIV/AIDS instruction must be taught by teachers who have been given appropriate training and curriculum materials by the board of education or trustees.
All HIV/AIDS education must “provide accurate information to pupils concerning the nature of the disease, methods of transmission, and methods of prevention.” This instruction must be age-appropriate and consistent with community values and “shall stress abstinence as the most appropriate and effective premarital protection against AIDS.”
Each local school board must establish an advisory council to make recommendations on HIV/AIDS instruction. The state does not require or suggest a specific curriculum, but does provide a curriculum framework, the Learning Standards for Health, Physical Education, and Family and Consumer Sciences. The framework does not specifically mention sexuality education though certain topics within sexuality education are included, such as “understanding of the changes that accompany puberty.”
Parents may exempt their children from HIV/AIDS classes as long as the school is given “assurance that the pupil will receive such instruction at home.” This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.
See New York Commissioner’s Regulations 135.3 and Learning Standards for Health, Physical Education, and Family and Consumer Sciences.
An Act to Provide HIV Education to Discharged Inmates
Senate Bill 8508, introduced in June 2008, would have required the department of corrections to provide HIV prevention education to inmates upon their release. The department would have been required to include instructions for obtaining free HIV testing, contact information for HIV testing and counseling service providers, and referrals to HIV prevention, education, and counseling resources. The bill was sent to the Senate Committee on Rules where it was substituted for an identical Assembly bill, A. 8849. Assembly Bill 8849 passed in both houses but died after being vetoed by Governor David Paterson (D) on September 4, 2008.
Bill Aims to Amend Education Law
Senate Bill 6205, introduced in June 2007, would have amended the education law to require all public schools to implement a comprehensive, medically accurate, and age-appropriate sex education curriculum in grades one through 12. The bill was sent to the Committee on Rules in June 2007 but failed to move and died.
Bill to Require HPV Vaccination for Sixth Graders
Assembly Bill 5810, introduced in February 2007, would have required girls entering sixth grade to receive the HPV vaccination. Parents or guardians with religious, moral, or other valid oppositions to having their child receive the HPV vaccine would have been able to receive exemptions. The bill was sent to the Assembly Committee on Health on February 23, 2007 but failed to move and died.
Unintended Pregnancy Prevention Act Introduced
Assembly Bill 5569 and Senate Bill 3579, introduced in February 2007, would have allowed women to obtain emergency contraception (EC) in pharmacies and from nurses through collaborative agreements with physicians. It also required insurance policies that provide coverage for prescription contraception to cover the cost of emergency contraception. The bill passed out of the Assembly and moved to the Senate Higher Education Committee but failed to be voted on and died.
Healthy Teens Act Introduced
Assembly Bill 2856 and Senate Bill 1342, introduced in January of 2007, would establish an age-appropriate sexuality education grant program with the intent of providing “grants to eligible applicants to support age-appropriate sex education grant programs for young people.” The bills provide parameters for these education programs, requiring that each are: “medically accurate; does not teach or promote religion; teaches that abstinence is the only sure way to avoid pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases; stresses the value of abstinence while not ignoring those adolescents who have had or are having sexual intercourse; and provides information about the health benefits and side effects of all contraceptives and barrier methods.” Assembly Bill 2856 passed in the New York State Assembly on March 17, 2008, and was sent to the Senate where it was referred to the Health Committee. The bills were carried over to the 2009 session.
Dignity for All Students Act Re-Introduced
Assembly Bill 3496 and Senate Bill 1571, introduced in January 2007, would have amended the education law to “afford all students in public schools an environment free of discrimination and harassment based on actual or perceived race, color, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex.” The bill specifically stated that such discrimination or harassment from public school employees or students on school property or at a school function would be prohibited, and that schools would have to create policies and procedures to ensure this environment. It also directed various state agencies to assist schools with training and model policies, and provided funds to implement policies, guidelines, and direct services. Assembly Bill 3496 was passed by the Assembly and was referred to the Education Committee in the Senate on February 27, 2008 but failed to move and died.
New York’s Youth: Statistical Information of Note
· In 2007, 42% of female high school students and 46% of male high school students in New York reported ever having had sexual intercourse compared to 46% of female high school students and 50% of male high school students nationwide.
· In 2007, 4% of female high school students and 10% of male high school students in New York reported having had sexual intercourse before age 13 compared to 4% of female high school students and 10% of male high school students nationwide.
· In 2007, 10% of female high school students and 16% of male high school students in New York reported having had four or more lifetime sexual partners compared to 12% of female high school students and 18% of male high school students nationwide.
· In 2007, 33% of female high school students and 29% of male high school students in New York reported being currently sexually active (defined as having had sexual intercourse in the three months prior to the survey) compared to 36% of female high school students and 34% of male high school students nationwide.
· In 2007, among those high school students who reported being currently sexually active, 62% of females and 73% of males in New York reported having used condoms the last time they had sexual intercourse compared to 55% of females and 69% of males nationwide.
· In 2007, among those high school students who reported being currently sexually active, 17% of females and 14% of males in New York reported having used birth control pills the last time they had sexual intercourse compared to 19% of females and 13% of males nationwide.
· In 2007, among those high school students who reported being currently sexually active, 19% of females and 27% of males in New York reported having used alcohol or drugs the last time they had sexual intercourse compared to 18% of females and 28% of males nationwide.
· In 2007, 88% of high school students in New York reported having been taught about AIDS/HIV in school compared to 90% of high school students nationwide.
New York, New York
· In 2007, 41% of female high school students and 52% of male high school students in New York City reported ever having had sexual intercourse compared to 46% of female high school students and 50% of male high school students nationwide.
· In 2007, 4% of female high school students and 16% of male high school students in New York City reported having had sexual intercourse before age 13 compared to 4% of female high school students and 10% of male high school students nationwide.
· In 2007, 9% of female high school students and 23% of male high school students in New York City reported having had four or more lifetime sexual partners compared to 12% of female high school students and 18% of male high school students nationwide.
· In 2007, 31% of female high school students and 32% of male high school students in New York City reported being currently sexually active (defined as having had sexual intercourse in the three months prior to the survey) compared to 36% of female high school students and 34% of male high school students nationwide.
· In 2007, among those high school students who reported being currently sexually active, 65% of females and 73% of males in New York City reported having used condoms the last time they had sexual intercourse compared to 55% of females and 69% of males nationwide.
· In 2007, among those high school students who reported being currently sexually active, 8% of females and 5% of males in New York City reported having used birth control pills the last time they had sexual intercourse compared to 19% of females and 13% of males nationwide.
· In 2007, among those high school students who reported being currently sexually active, 10% of females and 17% of males in New York City reported having used alcohol or drugs the last time they had sexual intercourse compared to 18% of females and 28% of males nationwide.
· In 2007, 88% of high school students in New York City reported having been taught about AIDS/HIV in school compared to 90% of high school students nationwide.
· New York was eligible for $3,676,827 in federal Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage funding in Fiscal Year 2008.
· The Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage grant requires states to provide three state-raised dollars or the equivalent in services for every four federal dollars received. The state match may be provided in part or in full by local groups.
· New York, however, does not apply for these funds due to the extraordinary restrictions placed upon how the money must be spent. Therefore, the state does not match funds nor does it have organizations supported by this type of federal money.
In October 2007, the state of New York decided no longer to participate in the Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage program. The announcement was made by State Health Commissioner Dr. Richard F. Daines. He said, “The Bush administration’s abstinence-only program is an example of a failed national healthcare policy directive…” and that the policy was “…based on ideology rather than on sound scientific-based evidence that must be the cornerstone of good public healthcare policy.” The decision went into effect for Fiscal Year 2008.
· There are 11 CBAE grantees in New York: one county, two Boys and Girls Clubs, and eight community-based organizations (including four faith-based).
· There are four AFLA grantees in New York: Our Lady of Lourdes Memorial Hospital, Inc., Adolescent and Family Comprehensive Services, Program REACH, and Catholic Charities/Syracuse (Neighborhood Centers).
SIECUS has compiled some examples of the use of CBAE and AFLA funding in New York:
Catholic Charities of Western New York/Buffalo (ProjecTruth), $599,800 (CBAE 2007–2012)
Catholic Charities of Western New York/Buffalo’s mission statement reads, “A Catholic sponsored human service agency serving anyone in need in the eight counties of Western New York. Believing all persons are created by God, we empower individuals, children and families to achieve and maintain meaningful, healthy and productive lives.” The organization runs “ProjecTruth,” an abstinence-only-until-marriage program that focuses on the consequences of premarital sex.
On its website, under the heading “Contraception-Why Not?,” Catholic Charities states that “Condoms Don’t Protect the Fragile Heart” and “Contraceptive education fails to address the emotional and psychological consequences of sex outside of marriage for an adolescent’s future happiness.” Another portion of the website includes messages of fear and shame for young people: “Sounds strange, but here’s what teens - honest teens - who were willing to share their feelings after having sex for the first time said they felt: Used - Dirty - Lonely - Confused - Scared - Ashamed – Sad.”
Since 2001, ProjecTruth, which operates in schools, community centers, faith communities, and social service organizations, has reached approximately 30,000 young people throughout Western New York.
ProjecTruth uses A.C. Green’s Game Plan ,the popular, fear-based curriculum. SIECUS reviewed Game Plan and found that in order to convince high school students to remain abstinent until marriage, the curriculum relies on messages of fear and shame, inaccurate and misleading information, and biased views of marriage, sexual orientation, and family structure. In addition, Game Plan fails to provide important information on sexual health including how students can seek testing and treatment if they suspect they may have an STD. Finally, the format and underlying biases of the curriculum do not allow for cultural, community, and individual values, and discourage critical thinking and discussions of alternate points of view in the classroom. For example, Game Plan compares sex to fire and says: “In a fireplace, fire is beautiful and gives warmth to a home. Outside of the fireplace, it can cause serious harm.” “What about sex? In a marriage relationship, sex can be beautiful. Outside of marriage, it can cause serious harm.”
Mother and Unborn Baby Care of Long Island, Inc., $598,879 (CBAE 2006–2011)
The Mother and Unborn Baby Care of Long Island, Inc. conducts business as The Life Center of Long Island. The organization’s goal is to “Empower pregnant and parenting women by providing them with the resources and emotional support needed to take care of themselves and their children and enable them to make healthy decisions for their future.” The organization’s work is divided between operating a crisis pregnancy center, conducting abstinence-only-until-marriage programming, and running other “pro-life” activities.
The organization’s crisis pregnancy center is called AAA Pregnancy Options. Crisis pregnancy centers typically advertise as providing medical services and then use anti-abortion propaganda, misinformation, and fear and shame tactics to dissuade women facing unintended pregnancy from exercising their right to choose.
The website for AAA Pregnancy Options contains several pieces of misinformation. In a section titled “Abortion Facts and Your Concerns,” it lists several possible complications from abortion. The first on the list is death, followed by breast cancer and several others. In February 2003, the National Cancer Institute convened a group of 100 experts on pregnancy and breast cancer risk who reviewed “existing population-based, clinical, and animal studies on the relationship between pregnancy and breast cancer risk, including studies of induced and spontaneous abortion” and concluded that induced abortion is not linked to an increase in the risk of breast cancer.
The Mother and Unborn Baby Care of Long Island, Inc.’s abstinence-only-until-marriage program is called “L.I. Teen Freedom.” The organization uses two curricula: WAIT (Why Am I Tempted) Training and The Choice Game. SIECUS reviewed WAIT Training and found that it contained little medical or biological information and almost no information about STDs, including HIV/AIDS. Instead, it contains information and statistics about marriage, many of which are outdated and not supported by scientific research. It also contains messages of fear and shame and biased views of gender, sexual orientation, and family type. For example, WAIT Training explains, “men sexually are like microwaves and women sexually are like crockpots….A woman is stimulated more by touch and romantic words. She is far more attracted by a man’s personality while a man is stimulated by sight. A man is usually less discriminating about those to whom he is physically attracted.”
The Choice Game is produced by Several Sources Foundation, a CBAE grantee based in New Jersey. The organization produces two versions of The Choice Game, including a “Midwest Version” with “95 percent Caucasian actors” and an “Urban Version” with “55 percent African American actors, 24 percent Hispanic actors.”  According to the website, the “remaining [actors] are Caucasian.” 
Both versions include a section on teen pregnancy. On the website, the urban version follows a young pregnant woman of color as she attempts to decide if she will marry, put the child up for adoption, or raise the child alone. Abortion is not discussed as an option. The young woman is shown as having no support until the home for pregnant teens (which Several Sources also runs) steps in—her grandmother cannot help her raise the child because “you know that landlord won’t have no babies,” her boyfriend leaves to join the Navy, and her boyfriend’s mother doubts if her son is the father. The Midwest version does not deal with unintended pregnancies, instead stating that this “curriculum has as its exclusive purpose to teach abstinence and is consistent with the abstinence-until-marriage message.” While it is often appropriate to create culturally competent curricula geared to the specific population or community with whom the program will be used, the double standard implied by these two versions is disturbing. Several Sources seems to suggest that while young people in the Midwest have the ability to decide to save sex for marriage thereby avoiding unintended pregnancies, their “urban” counterparts do not and will be left to deal with the consequences.
In addition to these curricula, the L.I. Teen Freedom program uses materials from the Medical Institute. This organization, known formerly as the Medical Institute for Sexual Health, describes itself as a “medical, educational, and research organization” founded “to confront the global epidemics of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).” It is a national organization that provides assistance to abstinence-only-until-marriage educators and providers. Joe McIlhaney, a Texas physician with close ties to the Bush administration, founded the Medical Institute in 1992. The organization receives federal grants from a number of different government agencies, and its staff and board members have held seats on high-level advisory panels in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA).
Mother and Unborn Baby Care of Long Island, Inc. also brings in special speakers as part of its abstinence-only-until-marriage program. One speaker, Ms. Rashida Jolley, is an employee of Project Reality, one of the oldest leaders in the abstinence-only-until-marriage industry.
Program REACH, $795,449 (CBAE 2005–2008) and $475,000 (CBAE 2007–2012)
Program REACH describes itself as, “A pro-life organization providing support programs and information to these pregnancy centers throughout the New York metropolitan area. We think that a fair hearing of the facts, the statistics, the stories and the aftermath of abortion is needed for women to make a true and informed CHOICE.” In Fiscal Year 2006, 76 percent of the organization’s funding came from CBAE dollars.
The organization’s website provides a list of crisis pregnancy centers in New York. It also provides a list of “post-abortion” resources for women “wounded by abortion.” There is no sound scientific evidence linking abortion to subsequent mental health problems, termed “post-abortion stress syndrome” by anti-abortion groups. Neither the American Psychological Association nor the American Psychiatric Association recognize “post-abortion stress syndrome” as a legitimate medical condition. Nevertheless, abortion opponents often refer to studies that have been found to have severe methodological flaws or cite anecdotal evidence of this condition in an effort to scare women out of exercising their right to choose.
The abstinence-only-until-marriage program conducted by Program REACH is called “Healthy Respect.” The organization describes the program components as, “Do NO Harm (to yourself, others and your future), abstinence until marriage, adoption as a viable best choice for an unmarried pregnant teen, and the importance of finishing high school and seeking higher education.” 
“Building a Culture of Life and Love,” a recent event held by Program REACH, featured a guest speaker from the Family Research Council (FRC). FRC is a right-wing organization that was, “Founded in 1983 as an organization dedicated to the promotion of marriage and family and the sanctity of human life in national policy.”
Program REACH is also an affiliate of the Abstinence Clearinghouse.  As an affiliate of the Abstinence Clearinghouse, the organization has access to a network of nearly 70 abstinence-only-until-marriage organizations. Affiliates gain access to resources, including abstinence-only-until-marriage curricula, and invitations to the Abstinence Clearinghouse conference self-titled as the “most prestigious abstinence-until-marriage event of the year.”  The founder of the Abstinence Clearinghouse is Leslee Unruh, one of the industry’s leaders, who began her career working in a South Dakota crisis pregnancy center and has deep ties to the anti-choice movement.
Adolescent Health Contact
New York State Department of Health
Director, Adolescent Health Unit
Bureau of Child and Adolescent Health
Empire State Plaza
Corning Tower—Room 208
Albany, NY 12237
Phone: (518) 473-6172
Newspapers in New York
This refers to the federal government’s fiscal year, which begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, Fiscal Year 2008 began on October 1, 2007 and ended on September 30, 2008.
 New York
 Unless otherwise cited, all statistical information comes from: Danice K. Eaton, et. al., “Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—United States, 2007,” Surveillance Summaries, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 57.SS-4 (6 June 2008), accessed 4 June 2008, <http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/yrbs/index.htm>.
 “Sex.. Not Yet.. Why Wait?,” ProjecTruth, accessed 15 October 2008, <http://www.ccwny.org/projectruth/notyetwhy.htm>.
 A.C. Green’s Game Plan (Golf, IL: Project Reality, 2007). For more information, see SIECUS’ review of A.C. Green’s Game Plan at <http://www.communityactionkit.org/curricula_reviews.html>.
 National Cancer Institute, “Abortion, Miscarriage, and Breast Cancer Risk,” 30 May 2003, accessed 30 January 2007, <http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/abortion-miscarriage>.
 “L.I. Teen Freedom,” L.I. Teen Freedom, accessed 15 October 2008, <http://liteenfreedom.org/component/option,com_frontpage/Itemid,1/>.
 Joneen Krauth-Mackenzie, WAIT (Why Am I Tempted) Training, Second Edition (Greenwood Village, CO: WAIT Training, undated). For more information, see SIECUS’ review of WAIT Training at <http://www.communityactionkit.org/curricula_reviews.html>.
 “About Us: What is the Medical Institute?” Medical Institute for Sexual Health, (2007), accessed 4 April 2008, <http://www.medinstitute.org/content.php?name=aboutmi>.
 “Programs,” L.I. Teen Freedom, accessed 15 October 2008, <http://liteenfreedom.org/content/blogcategory/16/30/>.
 Brenda Major et al, “Report of the APA Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion,” American
Psychological Association, (13 August 2008) accessed 8 October 2008, <http://www.apa.org/releases/abortion-report.pdf>.
 SIECUS has identified this person as a state-based contact for information on adolescent health and if applicable, abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.
 This section is a list of major newspapers in your state with contact information for their newsrooms. This list is by no means exhaustive and does not contain the local level newspapers which are integral to getting your message out to your community. SIECUS strongly urges you to follow stories about the issues that concern you on the national, state, and local level by using an internet news alert service such as Google alerts, becoming an avid reader of your local papers, and establishing relationships with reporters who cover your issues. For more information on how to achieve your media goals visit the SIECUS Community Action Kit.