Missouri State Profile
The Department of Health and Senior Services and community-based organizations in Missouri received $4,718,451 in federal funds for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs in Fiscal Year 2007. 1
Missouri Sexuality Education Law and Policy
Missouri law mandates that all instruction in human sexuality must be medically and factually accurate, but may also be presented in a manner consistent with federal abstinence law. It must also:
[P]resent abstinence from sexual activity as the preferred choice of behavior in relation to all sexual activity for unmarried pupils because it is the only method that is one hundred percent effective in preventing pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases [STDs] and the emotional trauma associated with adolescent sexual activity, and advise students that teenage sexual activity places them at a higher risk of dropping out of school because of the consequences of sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancy.
Students must be instructed not to make unwanted physical and verbal sexual advances or otherwise exploit another person. Missouri students must also be presented “both the possible side effects and health benefits of all forms of contraception, including the success and failure rates for the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.”
School districts and charter schools are prohibited from providing abortion services and from allowing a person and/or entity that provides abortion services to offer, sponsor, or furnish course materials related to human sexuality and STDs.
Although school districts are not required to follow it, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education produced the Missouri Framework for Curriculum Development in Health Education and Physical Education. The Framework includes instructional guidelines for HIV/AIDS- and STD-prevention education starting at the high school level. School boards must determine the specific content of sexuality education classes and make sure that it is age-appropriate.
The school district must also notify parents and guardians about:
This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.
See Missouri Revised Statute 170.015, Missouri School Improvement Program, Missouri’s HIV Prevention Education Program, Missouri House Bill 1055, Sexual Education and Abortions,and Missouri Framework for Curriculum Development in Health Education and Physical Education.2
Legislation to Require Sexuality Education to Follow Federal Abstinence Education Law
House Bill 63, introduced in January 2007 and referred to the Special Committee on Family Services, would change Missouri’s law from explicitly requiring schools to teach “the latest medically factual information” about contraception to requiring that students are presented with “information on contraceptives, pregnancy and abortion, in a manner consistent with the provisions of the Federal Abstinence Education Law.” It would also ban from schools outside sexuality educators and any materials produced by a facility or organization that provides or refers for abortion. In addition, the law would create an opt-in policy under which schools would have to receive written permission from parents before their children could attend a course related to human sexuality. Finally, HB 63 would require schools to “present the benefits to individuals, families, and society of a lifelong monogamous marriage between a man and a woman” and present information on fetal development including telling students that “at fertilization an unborn child’s life begin” and that the “unborn child has growth and development of various body organs and limbs, fingerprints, and sensory awareness long before birth.”
Omnibus Bill Would Compromise Comprehensive Sexuality Education
Senate Bills 370, 375, and 342, along with House Bills 1055 and 716, all introduced in 2007, would also change the current law requiring schools to teach “the latest medically factual information” about contraception. These bills would allow school districts to either teach comprehensive sexuality education or teach information in a manner consistent with the federal “abstinence education” law and guidelines which prohibit information on contraceptives and condoms, except in terms of their failure rates. These bills would also ban from schools outside sexuality educators and any materials produced by a facility or organization that provides or refers for abortion. The Senate bills were placed on an informal calendar in April 2007. HB 716 was voted “Do Pass” in the Rules Committee. HB 1055 passed in the House and is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate.
SIECUS is not aware of any recent events regarding sexuality education in Missouri.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services received $885,593 in federal Title V Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Funding in Fiscal Year 2007. 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. In Missouri, sub-grantees make up the state’s required match through funding and in-kind services. The Missouri Department of Health oversees this funding through the Missouri Abstinence Education Program (AEP).
AEP runs a media campaign, and funds 12 sub-grantees and an evaluation. The statewide media campaign has as “its main purpose encouraging parents to talk with their kids about relationships, values, sex, and abstinence.”4 The campaign consists of a series of “Let’s Talk” messages developed with assistance from Lincoln University students.
Three of the Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage sub-grantees are crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs): Laclede County Pregnancy Support Center, LifeChoices of Joplin, and the Women’s Clinic of Kansas City. 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.
LifeChoices of Joplin provides information on pregnancy options on its website. Some of the information about abortion is inaccurate. For example, the website states “abortion is the most preventable risk factor for breast cancer.”5 Although many crisis pregnancy centers perpetuate a false link between abortion and breast cancer, this connection has been proven untrue. 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 Women’s Clinic of Kansas City, another crisis pregnancy center, also includes inaccurate and medically unsound information on its website For example, its website lists numerous “general postabortive stress/syndrome symptoms” including “shame/secrecy,” “intimacy issues,” “repeat abortions,” and “alcohol/drug abuse.”6 However, 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. (See the CBAE and AFLA section for more information on The Women’s Clinic of Kansas City).
Community-Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) and Adolescent Family Life Act (AFLA) Grantees
There are seven CBAE grantees in Missouri: About Our Kids, Inc., Better Family Life, Inc., Catholic Charities of Kansas City/St. Joseph’s Children and Family Services, Future Leaders Outreach Network, St. Louis County Department of Health, Sparrow Community Development Group, and the Women’s Clinic of Kansas City/LifeGuard Youth Development. There are no AFLA grantees in Missouri.
For its CBAE program, “Abstinence Education Program,” Better Family Life, Inc. partners with the Fatherhood Initiative and A New Cornerstone, Inc. (Trinity Full Gospel, Greater Faith Outreach, New Spirit Community Church, and Fresh Start Bible Church).7 Abstinence Education Program operates in six St. Louis area schools, and “will reach 1,500 youth through rallies, presentations, classes and a citywide social marketing campaign.”8
The St. Louis County Department of Health uses its CBAE grant as partial funding for the “ABC” abstinence-only-until-marriage program.9 The ABC program is for students in upper elementary through high school. In high school, the ABC program is part of the health education curriculum.10 In both middle school and high school, students in the ABC program submit entries for a slogan contest about abstinence; winning slogans are displayed on posters throughout schools.11
The Women’s Clinic of Kansas City runs an abstinence-only-until-marriage program called “LifeGuard Youth Development.” LifeGuard uses the Choosing the Best abstinence-only-until-marriage curricula.12 SIECUS reviewed two of the curricula produced by Choosing the Best, Inc.—Choosing the Best LIFE (for high school students) and Choosing the Best PATH (for middle school students). These reviews found that the curricula name numerous negative consequences of premarital sexuality activity and suggest that teens should feel guilty, embarrassed, and ashamed of sexual behavior. For example, Choosing the Best LIFE states that, “Relationships often lower the self-respect of both partners—one feeling used, the other feeling like the user. Emotional pain can cause a downward spiral leading to intense feelings of lack of worthlessness.” Choosing the Best PATH says, “Sexual activity also can lead to the trashing of a person’s reputation, resulting in the loss of friends.”13
On its website, LifeGuard Youth Development has a section called “How Do I Teach My Teen How to Date” based on guideline’s from Keith Deltano’s “Fighting Back” presentation.14 Keith Deltano is an abstinence-only-until-marriage speaker and Christian comedian who has given talks around the country in middle schools and high schools.SIECUS attended one of Mr. Deltano’s most popular presentation, “The New Sexual Revolution or Abstinence is Cool,” and found that he uses a loud, aggressive style, reminiscent of a football coach to badger students into accepting his abstinence-only-until-marriage ideology. Deltano relies on messages of fear and shame, inaccurate and misleading information, and biased views of marriage and gender.The highlight of Deltano’s performance includes an activity designed to illustrate the ineffectiveness of condoms against HIV in which he suggests that condoms fail 10% of the time and then he dangles a cinderblock over the genitals of an unsuspecting male student yelling, “Is 10 percent good enough for you?!?! Is it good enough?!?!”15
Federal and State Funding for Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs in FY 2007
Adolescent Health Contact16