Statewide Abstinence Education
WHEREAS, Act 210 of the 2008 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature requires city, parish, and other local public school boards to provide information about immunizations and to also provide information about human papillomavirus (HPV) and immunization against HPV to the parent or legal guardian of students in grades six through twelve; and
WHEREAS, national studies have shown that forty percent of sexually active girls between the ages of fourteen and nineteen have contracted HPV; and
WHEREAS, STD rates in Louisiana are among the highest in the nation, and, in 2006, Louisiana had the 19th highest teenage pregnancy rate of any state, averaging more than 16,000 teen pregnancies per year; and
WHEREAS, abstinence remains the most effective way to prevent sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy; and
WHEREAS, many adolescents remain poorly informed about the risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), pregnancy and prevention measures, and parents in many cases also lack information and skills to counsel adolescents about abstinence; and
WHEREAS, the Governor’s Program on Abstinence has been established to promote the ideals of the Federal Abstinence Education initiative, in furtherance of Louisiana’s dependence on a healthy, educated and job-ready citizenry; and
WHEREAS, abstinence education programs will encourage Louisiana’s youth to abstain from sexual activity prior to marriage and commit to mutually faithful relationships throughout marriage;
NOW THEREFORE, I, BOBBY JINDAL, Governor of the state of Louisiana, by virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution and the laws of the state of Louisiana, do hereby order and direct the Department of Health and Hospitals and the Governor’s Program on Abstinence as follows:
SECTION 1: Promote abstinence education with parents or legal guardians, who are the primary sexuality educators of their children, as a way to:
A. encourage the attitude that it is “great to wait” thereby reducing premarital sexual activity among the youth of Louisiana;
B. reduce the rate of sexually transmitted diseases among the youth of Louisiana; and
C. lower the premarital pregnancy rate among the youth of Louisiana.
SECTION 2: Develop an aggressive campaign targeting adolescents ages 13-19 and parents, which:
A. builds awareness of the consequences of premarital sexual activity;
B. motivates teenagers to get involved by providing activities they can take part in;
C. places the message directly into the community by virtue of grassroots components that personally engage adolescents; and
D. initiates programs to coordinate efforts between families, educators, and the medical community, and fosters candid conversations within families about the dangers of early sexual activity.
SECTION 3: Develop informational materials pursuant to House Bill No. 359, which:
A. describe the link between HPV and cervical cancer and how HPV is spread;
B. describe the efficacy of the HPV vaccine, including types of HPV and other sexually transmitted diseases for which the vaccine does not protect, but can be prevented through abstaining from sexual activity;
C. contain language and images that are appropriate for the ages and special needs of the children who may receive them, should their parents or legal guardians consent to their receipt of such materials;
D. in addition to information about immunization, make abstinence information available to all students in grades six through twelve and ensure adequate sharing of information about abstinence as the most effective way to avoid contracting HPV; and
E. allow and encourage parents or legal guardians of students in grades six through twelve to participate in educating students about abstinence in order to avoid exposure to HPV.
SECTION 4: This Order is effective upon signature and shall remain in effect until amended, modified, terminated or rescinded by the governor, or terminated by operation of law.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have set my hand officially and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of Louisiana, at the Capitol, in the city of Baton Rouge, on this 3rd day of July, 2008.
Secretary of State