California Teen Program Stresses Sexual Abstinence

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

( - A new program launched by the State of California, without federal funds, is emphasizing the role of abstinence in preventing unwanted teenage pregnancies. Through an advertising and education program dubbed Partnership for Responsible Parenting (PRP), the California Department of Health Services is educating teenagers - particularly young men - about pregnancy prevention and the responsibilities involved with parenthood.

One aspect of the program includes a campaign to encourage boys to abstain from sexual activity until marriage. According to one Californian, who works with underprivileged youth through the Male Involvement Program which is partially funded by PRP, teenagers are generally receptive to the message.

"To many teens in the inner city, the economic and sociological disadvantages of early parenthood are all too evident," said Naeem Betz, who works at El Nido Family Centers in Los Angeles.

"Just think about it. This is their lives," Betz told "When I reflect it back to their lives, and how they could be a young father at the age of 14 or 15, or they know some of their friends or relatives who are, they kind of think and say 'Man, that could be me," said Betz.

California Department of Health Services Chief of Health Education David Ginsburg told that the Responsible Parenting Program is somewhat unique because it emphasizes prevention and does not just deal with teenage pregnancy after-the-fact.

"There is a real national movement dealing with establishing paternity, but I think the uniqueness of California's Male Involvement Program is that it really focuses in on not just the roles and responsibilities for them, if they are fathers, but also their roles and responsibilities for respect, responsibility and for prevention," said Ginsburg.

"Often that's not built into a lot of the national fatherhood programs," Ginsburg added.