As individuals and organizations committed to the First Amendment and freedom of thought, inquiry, and speech, we oppose censorship as an affront to a core constitutional principle: that government may not control what individuals read, see, hear, think, and say. While the stated goals of the program, reducing non-marital sexual activity and teen pregnancy, may appeal to some, such goals can be better achieved through educational programs that do not resort to government censorship, but respect freedom of speech and access to information. It is therefore particularly important that legislators, educators, policy-makers, parents, students and others understand the threat it poses to important First Amendment principles:. Students in abstinence-only programs receive only information consistent with the abstinence-until-marriage message.
Sexual abstinence or sexual restraint is the practice of refraining from some or all aspects of sexual activity for medical, psychological, legal, social, financial, philosophical, moral, or religious reasons. Asexuality is distinct from sexual abstinence; and celibacy is sexual abstinence generally motivated by factors such as an individual's personal or religious beliefs. Abstinence may be voluntary when an individual chooses not to engage in sexual activity due to moral, religious, philosophical, etc. The ancient world discouraged promiscuity for both health and social reasons.
Most religious leaders and parents want to share a message of abstinence with their children and teenagers. Research shows that most adolescents are not developmentally ready for mature sexual relationships and that engaging in sexual intercourse can pose significant biological, social, and emotional risks for teens. At the same time, it is important to recognize that not all teenagers will abstain from these behaviors, and they require information to protect themselves.
Sexual abstinence in the modern context refers to the decision to refrain from sexual activity prior to marriage. The traditional religious virtue of chastity combines abstinence before marriage with sexual fidelity to one's spouse within marriage. Reasons for unmarrieds to abstain from sexual activity include religious convictions, to conform to legal injunctions, to prevent undesired pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases STDs , and to "save oneself" for marriage with the hope of better marital outcomes. The world's major religions concur in viewing sexual intimacy as proper only within marriage ; otherwise it can be destructive to human flourishing.