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Washington State Profile Fiscal Year 2008

Community-based organizations in Washington received $1,563,773 in federal funds for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs in Fiscal Year 2008.[1]

(Click Here to View a PDF Version of this Profile)

Washington Sexuality Education Law and Policy
School districts in Washington are not required to implement comprehensive sexuality education; the decision to implement sex education or human sexuality instruction in schools is made by the local school board. When creating sex education or human sexuality instruction, Washington law states that school districts must involve parents and other community members “in the planning, development, evaluation, and revision.” The law also requires every Washington public school that offers sexual health education to assure that instruction is medically and scientifically accurate, age-appropriate, appropriate for students regardless of race, gender, disability status, or sexual orientation, and includes information about abstinence and other methods of preventing unintended pregnancy. It also states, “Abstinence may not be taught at the exclusion of other materials and instruction on contraceptives and disease prevention.”
Schools are required to teach sexually transmitted disease (STD)prevention. Schools are also required to teach HIV/AIDS-prevention education and emphasize abstinence as a prevention method. This instruction must be given at least once each school year beginning in the fifth grade and must “teach that condoms and other artificial means of birth control are not a certain means of preventing the spread of the AIDS virus and reliance on condoms puts a person at risk for exposure to the disease.” Information must be current and medically accurate. In order to verify medical accuracy, the office on HIV/AIDS within the Washington State Department of Health must review and approve all HIV curricula and supporting materials.              
The office of superintendent of public instruction and the department of health developed voluntary guidelines titled the Guidelines for Sexual Health and Disease Prevention. These guidelines promote broad, comprehensive, positive sexuality education programs that provide information about both abstinence and contraception, and are consistent with characteristics of programs that have been rigorously evaluated using quantitative research and have shown to be effective in reducing risk-taking behaviors. Washington also provides a voluntary curriculum, KNOW HIV/STD Prevention Curriculum,for use in grades five through 12.
Parents or guardians may remove their children from HIV/AIDS-prevention education if they have attended one information session about the HIV/AIDS curriculum and presentation. If a school district chooses to provide sexuality education, parents may also remove their children from the class with written notification. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.

See Revised Code of Washington Section 28A.230.020, 28A.230.070, 392-410-140, Guidelines for Sexual Health and Disease Prevention, and KNOW HIV/STD Prevention Curriculum.

Recent Legislation

Bill to Change Language Regarding Application for Abstinence-Only Funding
Senate Bill 6305, introduced in January 2008, would have changed the language of the law so that the text which currently reads: “the department of health shall maximize federal funding by timely application for federal funds available under P.L. 104-193 and Title V” would instead read “the department of health may maximize federal funding by timely application for federal funds available under P.L. 104-193 and Title V.” The bill passed the Senate on February 18, 2008 and was sent to the House but later died. 
Washington’s Youth: Statistical Information of Note
Washington did not participate in the 2007 Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance Survey. 
Title V Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Funding
·        Washington was eligible for $814,633 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.
·        Washington submitted an application to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) for these funds in Fiscal Year 2008 that complied with the state’s Healthy Youth Act. This law requires that all sexuality education taught in public schools be comprehensive, medically accurate, and include information on disease prevention. This does not comply with the federal government’s A-H definition of “abstinence education,” and the application was rejected by ACF. Therefore, the state did not receive federal Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage money in Fiscal Year 2008. The state, however, did reapply for the Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage funds for Fiscal Year 2009 with a new proposal and the application was accepted by ACF.
Community-Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) and Adolescent Family Life Act (AFLA) Grantees 
·        There are three CBAE grantees in Washington: AWARE, Inc., Clarkson School District, and Teen-Aid, Inc.
·        There are no AFLA grantees in Washington. 
SIECUS has compiled some examples of the use CBAE and AFLA funding in Washington:
AWARE, Inc., $499,849 (CBAE 2005–2008)
AWARE, Inc.’s mission statement reads, “Empower teens by equipping them with the knowledge and strategies for healthy choices regarding sexual activity. Encourage parents by providing support and resources to help their children make healthy choices. Equip the community by nurturing a culture that supports abstinence as a healthy choice.”[2] In 2006, 67 percent of the organization’s funding came from CBAE dollars.[3] 
Among other activities, the organization holds an annual “Father and Daughter Dinner and Dance” event. [4] The organization’s online store features a number of products meant to deter students from utilizing pornography, such as the “Pornography Roller Coaster” brochure. [5]  
Teen-Aid, Inc., $599,762 (CBAE 2008–2013)
Teen-Aid’s mission statement reads, “Teen-Aid is a not-for profit organization started in 1981 for the specific purpose of reducing premarital sexual activity and its many consequences.”[6] The organization “uses multi-media and personal experiences” in its abstinence-only-until-marriage programming for parents and teens. Teen-Aid claims to have reached 9,000 teens and parents in eastern Washington in one year. Its slogan reads, “Abstinence is saying yes to the rest of your life.”[7] In 2007, 51 percent of the organization’s funds came from CBAE dollars.[8]
Teen-Aid has produced several curricula including Me, My World, My Future and Sexuality, Commitment & Family.[9] SIECUS reviewed these curricula and found that they rely on fear and shame, include inaccurate and exaggerated information about condom failure, and contain biased messages about gender, sexual orientation, family structure, and pregnancy options. For example, in one lesson in Sexuality, Commitment & Family, students write an essay titled “If Wombs Had Windows,” in which they speculate how individuals and society might behave differently if “we could see the unborn child developing in the womb.” In the condom lesson from Me, My World, My Future, teachers compare using a condom to playing Russian roulette.[10] According to SIECUS’ research, the most recent edition of Me, My World, My Future was published in 1993 and the most recent edition of Sexuality, Commitment & Family was published in 1990. The chapter on HIV in each curriculum, however, was updated in 1998. 
      Teen-Aid is an affiliate of the Abstinence Clearinghouse.[11] As an affiliate of the Abstinence Clearinghouse, Teen-Aid 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.” [12] 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. 
Federal and State Funding for Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs in FY 2008

Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Grantee
Length of Grant
Amount of Grant
Type of Grant (includes Title V, CBAE, AFLA, and other funds)
Clarkston School District
Teen-Aid, Inc.

Adolescent Health Contact[13]
Marla Russo, MPH
Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Coordinator
Washington State Department of Health
P.O. Box 47880
Olympia, WA 98501
Phone: (360) 236-3515
Washington Organizations that Support Comprehensive Sexuality Education

ACLU of Washington
705 2nd Avenue, 3rd Floor
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: (206) 624-2184
League of Women Voters of Washington
4710 University Way NE, Suite 214
Seattle, WA 98105
Phone: (206) 622-8961
Lifelong AIDS Alliance
1002 East Seneca
Seattle, WA 98122
Phone: (206) 328-8979
NARAL Pro-Choice Washington
811 1st Avenue, Suite 456
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: (206) 624-1990
Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest
2001 East Madison
Seattle, WA 98122
Phone: (206) 328-7734
Religious Coalition for Reproductive
Choice of Washington
P.O. Box 30782
Seattle, WA 98113
Phone: (206) 260-7905
Washington Education Association
P.O. Box 9100
Federal Way, WA 98063
Phone: (253) 941-6700
Washington State Medical Association
2033 6th Avenue, Suite 1100
Seattle, WA 98121
Phone: (206) 441-9762
Washington State Parent-Teacher
2003 65th Avenue, W
Tacoma, WA 98466
Phone: (253) 565-2153
Planned Parenthood of the Inland Northwest
123 E. Indiana Avenue, Suite 100
Spokane, WA 99207
Phone: (800) 788-9128

Washington Organizations that Oppose Comprehensive Sexuality Education

Human Life of Washington
14400 Bel-Red Road, #207
Bellevue, WA 98007
Phone: (425) 641-9345

Newspapers in Washington[14]

Bellingham Herald
1155 N. State Street
Bellingham, WA 98225
Phone: (360) 715-2260
The News Tribune
P.O. Box 11000
Tacoma, WA 98411
Phone: (253) 597-8686
The Columbian
P.O. Box 180
Vancouver, WA
Seattle Times
P.O. Box 70
Seattle, WA 98111
Phone: (206) 464-2200
P.O. Box 2160
Spokane, WA 99210
Phone: (509) 459-5000
Tacoma Daily Index
P.O. Box 1303
Tacoma, WA 98401
Phone: (253) 627-4853


[1]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.  
[2] “About Us,” AWARE, Inc., accessed 13 October 2008, <>.
[3] Aware, Inc., 990 Form, 2006, p. 1.
[4] “Events,” AWARE, Inc., accessed 13 October 2008, <>.
[5] “Online Store,” AWARE, Inc., accessed 13 October 2008, <>.
[6] “About Us,” Teen-Aid, Inc., accessed 15 October 2008, <>.
[7] Ibid.
[8] Teen-Aid, 990 Form, 2006, p. 1.
[9] “Abstinence Education: Curricula,” Teen-Aid, accessed 18 September 2008.
[10] Steve Potter and Nancy Roach, Sexuality, Commitment & Family (Spokane, WA: Teen-Aid, 1990, HIV chapter revised1998); Nancy Roach and LeAnna Benn, Me, My World, My Future (Spokane WA: Teen-Aid, 1993 HIV chapter revised 1998).  
[11] “Affiliate Center,” Abstinence Clearinghouse, accessed 15 October 2008, <>.
[12] Ibid.
[13] SIECUS has identified this person as a state-based contact for information on adolescent health and if applicable, abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. 
[14] 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.
National Coalition to Support Sexuality Education National Coalition to Support Sexuality Education