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Press Release - Memo: Barack Obama And Sex Education

September 13, 2008

TO: Interested Parties

RE: Barack Obama And Sex Education

DATE: September 13, 2008

In recent days, questions have arisen concerning Barack Obama's support for sex education for Kindergarteners. This is a true statement that the Obama campaign has never disputed. Not only did Barack Obama vote for a sex education bill in the Illinois State Legislature, but four years later, he said again that he supported sex education for Kindergarteners. This is a record that establishes his clear support for expanding sex education to Kindergarteners.

Please find the facts below:

  • In the Illinois State Legislature, Barack Obama voted for legislation to alter Illinois' Sex Education standards to include instruction in any grade from Kindergarten through 12th grade. The legislation passed Barack Obama's Illinois Senate Health and Human Services Committee that he chaired. As the Chicago Daily Herald stated, "the legislation included a provision to allow students from kindergarten through fifth grade to be added to the middle and high school students receiving sex education."

  • Despite the Obama campaign's claims, this bill was intended to provide children as young as Kindergarten with sex education. According to the legislation itself, "Each class or course in comprehensive sex education offered in any of grades K through 12 shall include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread of HIV." This legislation stated expressly that children in grade 12 were to be education about sexually transmitted diseases.

  • In 2007, Barack Obama told Planned Parenthood that he supported sex education for Kindergarteners as long as it was "age-appropriate." Thus on two separate occasions we have Barack Obama supporting the expansion of sex education to Kindergarteners.

  • Defending Barack Obama's statement, the Obama campaign cited far-reaching SIECUS curriculum as the model. The SIECUS curriculum goes far beyond appropriate touching. The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) supports a comprehensive approach to sex education, beginning as early as ages 5-8. For Level 1 sex education (ages 5 through 8), the guidelines include much more than appropriate touching. The curriculum includes lines that are not appropriate for us to state here but please see the link to the guidelines here: http://www.siecus.org/_data/global/images/guidelines.pdf. This is the model provided by the Obama campaign and no one else.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Last Year, Barack Obama Said He Supported "Age-Appropriate" Sex Education For Kindergarteners

"ABC News' Teddy Davis And Lindsey Ellerson Report: Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., Told Planned Parenthood ... That Sex Education For Kindergarteners, As Long As It Is 'Age-Appropriate,' Is 'The Right Thing To Do.'" ("Sex Ed for Kindergarteners 'Right Thing to Do,' Says Obama," ABC News' "Political Radar" Blog, blogs.abcnews.com, Accessed 7/19/07)

  • The Obama Campaign Tells First Read: "You Can Teach A Kid About What's Appropriate And Not Appropriate To Protect Them From Predators Out There." ("Obama And Sex Ed For Kids," NBC News' "First Read," firstread.msnbc.msn.com, Accessed 7/19/07)

Defending Their Candidate's Comments, The Obama Campaign Issued Document Citing Sex-Education Curriculum For Kindergarteners From The SIECUS And Oregon Department Of Education. "In addition, he issued a document showing that the Oregon Department of Education has guidelines for sex education for children in grades K-3 (which includes understanding the difference between a good touch and a bad touch), and that the Sexuality Information And Education Council of the United States [SIECUS] has curriculum for those in kindergarten." ("Obama And Sex Ed For Kids," NBC News' "First Read," firstread.msnbc.msn.com, Accessed 7/19/07)

  • SEICUS Supports A Comprehensive Approach To Sexual Education, Beginning As Early As Ages 5 – 8. "For each topic, the Guidelines present developmental messages appropriate for four separate age levels which reflect stages of development. The levels are: Level 1: middle childhood, ages 5 through 8; early elementary school … Level 2: preadolescence, ages 9 through 12; later elementary school … Level 3: early adolescence, ages 12 through 15; middle school/junior high school … Level 4: adolescences, ages 15 through 18; high school …" ("Guidelines For Comprehensive Sexuality Education," The Sexuality Information And Education Council Of The United States, www.siecus.org, p. 17, 2004)

  • Level 1 Sex Education Is Intended To Be Taught To Children Of Ages 5 Through 8. ("Guidelines For Comprehensive Sexuality Education," The Sexuality Information And Education Council Of The United States, www.siecus.org, p. 24, 2004)

According To SEICUS, Level 1 Sex Education Includes:

  • "Both Boys And Girls Have Body Parts That Feel Good When Touched." ("Guidelines For Comprehensive Sexuality Education," The Sexuality Information And Education Council Of The United States, www.siecus.org, p. 25, 2004)

  • "A Boy/Man Has Nipples, A Penis, A Scrotum, And Testicles." ("Guidelines For Comprehensive Sexuality Education," The Sexuality Information And Education Council Of The United States, www.siecus.org, p. 25, 2004)

  • "A Girl/Woman Has Breasts, Nipples, A Vulva, A Clitoris, A Vagina, A Uterus, And Ovaries." ("Guidelines For Comprehensive Sexuality Education," The Sexuality Information And Education Council Of The United States, www.siecus.org, p. 25, 2004)

  • "Some Sexual Or Reproductive Organs, Such As Penises And Vulvas, Are External Or On The Outside Of The Body While Others, Such As Ovaries And Testicles, Are Internal Or Inside The Body." ("Guidelines For Comprehensive Sexuality Education," The Sexuality Information And Education Council Of The United States, www.siecus.org, p. 25, 2004)

  • "Some People Are Homosexual, Which Means They Can Be Attracted To And Fall In Love With Someone Of The Same Gender." ("Guidelines For Comprehensive Sexuality Education," The Sexuality Information And Education Council Of The United States, www.siecus.org, p. 29, 2004)

  • "Vaginal Intercourse – When A Penis Is Placed Inside A Vagina – Is The Most Common Way For A Sperm And Egg To Join." ("Guidelines For Comprehensive Sexuality Education," The Sexuality Information And Education Council Of The United States, www.siecus.org, p. 26, 2004)

  • "Two People Of The Same Gender Can Live In Loving, Lifetime Committed Relationships." ("Guidelines For Comprehensive Sexuality Education," The Sexuality Information And Education Council Of The United States, www.siecus.org, p. 39, 2004)

  • "Homosexual Men And Women Are Also Known As Gay Men And Lesbians." ("Guidelines For Comprehensive Sexuality Education," The Sexuality Information And Education Council Of The United States, www.siecus.org, p. 29, 2004)

  • "Making Fun Of People By Calling Them Gay ... Is Disrespectful And Hurtful." ("Guidelines For Comprehensive Sexuality Education," The Sexuality Information And Education Council Of The United States, www.siecus.org, p. 29, 2004)

  • "Touching And Rubbing One's Own Genitals To Feel Good Is Called Masturbation." ("Guidelines For Comprehensive Sexuality Education," The Sexuality Information And Education Council Of The United States, www.siecus.org, p. 51, 2004)

  • "Some Boys And Girls Masturbate And Others Do Not." ("Guidelines For Comprehensive Sexuality Education," The Sexuality Information And Education Council Of The United States, www.siecus.org, p. 52, 2004)

  • "Masturbation Should Be Done In A Private Place." ("Guidelines For Comprehensive Sexuality Education," The Sexuality Information And Education Council Of The United States, www.siecus.org, p. 52, 2004)

In The Illinois State Legislature, Barack Obama Approved Legislation To Alter Illinois' Sex Education Standards To Include Instruction In Any Grade From Kindergarten Through 12th:

"Before His Election To The U.S. Senate, Obama Was A State Senator And Chairman Of A Committee That Approved Legislation That Would Have Altered Illinois' Sex Education Standards To Include Instruction In Any Grade From Kindergarten Through 12th, Rather Than Grades 6-12." (Jim Davenport, "Romney Tries To Build SC Support With Appeal To Conservatives," The Associated Press, 7/19/07)

In Committee, Barack Obama Voted In Favor Of Legislation (S.B. 99) That Would Amend Requirements For Sex Education Classes. "Amends the School Code and the Critical Health Problems and Comprehensive Health Education Act. Changes and adds criteria that sex education classes and comprehensive health education programs must satisfy." (S.B. 99: Illinois Senate Health And Human Services Committee, Passed, 7-4-0, 3/6/03, Obama Voted Yea)

  • The Full Text Of S.B. 99 Included Changes That Would Offer Sex Education To Children Beginning In Kindergarten. "Each class or course in comprehensive sex education offered in any of grades K through 12 shall include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread of HIV." (S.B. 99: Illinois Senate Health And Human Services Committee, Passed, 7-4-0, 3/6/03, Obama Voted Yea)

Chicago Daily Herald: "At one point, the legislation included a provision to allow students from kindergarten through fifth grade to be added to the middle and high school students receiving sex education. Obama was chairman of the Senate committee that voted along party lines to move along the measure, which ultimately went nowhere." (Eric Krol, "Obama Clarifies Sex Ed Views At Benedictiine," Chicago Daily Herald, 10/6/04)

John McCain, Press Release - Memo: Barack Obama And Sex Education Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/292052

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