WHEREAS, the citizens of the state of Louisiana face many challenges, including rates of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases that rank above the national average, which hinder our ability to prepare our youth for the opportunities of the future;
WHEREAS, the encouragement of abstinence education programs throughout the state, with special emphasis in those areas with elevated rates of sexually transmitted diseases and/or premarital pregnancies among teenagers, will support the youth of this state in creating a culture that promotes sexual abstinence prior to marriage; and
WHEREAS, through a program established pursuant to Title V of the Social Security Act, as provided in 42 U.S.C. §710, states may apply for allotments from the federal government, through the secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, to enable the state to provide abstinence education and to provide appropriate mentoring, counseling, and adult supervision to youths to promote abstinence from premarital sexual activity, focusing on those groups which have a higher premarital pregnancy rate;
WHEREAS, the interests of the citizens of the state of Louisiana would best be served by the continuance of the Office of Abstinence Education which will create new and continue existing programs throughout the state, to bring age-appropriate, medically sound information in a manner that educates, encourages, and supports the youth regarding the benefit of sexual abstinence;
NOW THEREFORE I, KATHLEEN BABINEAUX BLANCO, Governor of the state of Louisiana, by virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution and laws of the state of Louisiana, do hereby order and direct as follows:
SECTION 1: The Office of Abstinence Education - Louisiana Abstinence Education Project - Governor's Program on Abstinence (hereafter "Office of Abstinence Education") is reestablished and recreated within the executive department, Office of Community Programs, Office of the Governor, with federal funding through the Department of Health and Hospitals;
SECTION 2: The goals of the Office of Abstinence Education shall include, but are not limited to, the following:
A. Reducing the incidence of premarital sexual activity among the youth of Louisiana;
B. Reducing the rate of sexually transmitted diseases among the youth of Louisiana; and
C. Lowering the premarital pregnancy rate among the youth of Louisiana.
SECTION 3: The duties of the Office of Abstinence Education shall include, but are not limited to, the following:
A. Applying for and receiving funding for the development and administration of the Office of Abstinence Education from public and private sources including, but not limited to, funding and allotments available pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §710;
B. Establishing and administering community-based abstinence education programs statewide with an emphasis in those communities with elevated rates of premarital pregnancies and/or sexually transmitted diseases;
C. Providing youths with medically accurate and age-appropriate family life education and skills which emphasize abstinence from sexual activity;
D. Providing parents with family life education and skills which emphasize and support their role as the primary educator of family values;
E. Promoting among youths community awareness of the dangers of premarital sexual activity for the purpose of encouraging a more socially acceptable dialogue between youths and adults about abstinence from sexual activity; and
F. Promoting character qualities and human skills that are beneficial to marriage and to raising responsible and productive children.
SECTION 4: As used in this Order, "abstinence education" is defined in accordance with 42 U.S.C. §710(b)(2). "Abstinence education" means an education or motivational program which:
A. Has as its exclusive purpose, teaching the social, psychological, and health gains to be realized by abstaining from sexual activity;
B. Teaches abstinence from sexual activity outside marriage as the expected standard for all school age children;
C. Teaches that abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other associated health problems;
D. Teaches that a mutually faithful monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the expected standard of human sexual activity;
E. Teaches that sexually activity outside of the context of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects;
F. Teaches that bearing children out-of-wedlock is likely to have harmful consequences for the child, the child's parents, and society;
G. Teaches young people how to reject sexual advances, and how alcohol and drug use increases vulnerability to sexual advances; and
H. Teaches the importance of attaining self-sufficiency before engaging in sexual activity.
A. The Office of Abstinence Education shall be directed by a director/state coordinator who shall be appointed by, and serve at the pleasure of, the governor. The director/state coordinator shall be responsible for administering, overseeing, and evaluating the programs of the Office of Abstinence Education in a manner which facilitates the accomplishment of the project's goals, as set forth in Section 2 of this Order, and its duties, as defined in Section 3 of this Order.
B. The director/state coordinator shall submit an annual comprehensive report to the governor, by January 1, which addresses the fulfillment of the Office of Abstinence Education's goals, as set forth in Section 2 of this Order, and its duties, as defined in Section 3 of this Order. Annual reports shall include all relevant comparative data and information relating to the effectiveness of the Office of Abstinence Education to the abstinence education projects and/or programs of other states.
SECTION 6: The office of the director/state coordinator of the Office of Abstinence Education shall be located in, and operated from, a state-owned facility. The Office of Abstinence Education shall be permitted staff and resources to fulfill the goals, duties, and responsibilities specified in this Order. It shall be permitted to accept the efforts of volunteers in accordance with state law.
SECTION 7: All departments, commissions, boards, offices, entities, agencies, and officers of the state of Louisiana, or any political subdivision thereof, are authorized and directed to cooperate with the Office of Abstinence Education in implementing the provisions of this Order.
SECTION 8: Upon signature of this Order, the provisions of this Order shall be effective retroactive to January 12, 2004. This Order 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 2nd day of August, 2004.
Kathleen Babineaux Blanco
Secretary of State