The North Carolina Family Policy Council—along with seven other family policy councils from around the country—has signed on to a letter to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services that highlights alleged violations of Title V as it relates to child health services and abstinence education programs.
The open letter, authored by The Family Foundation of Virginia and addressed to Alex Azar, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, raises significant questions about a “sexual health text-line for teens,” known as BrdsNBz. The sex text-line, which operates in multiple states including North Carolina, allows adolescents and teens to text questions about sexual topics to an anonymous third party without parental knowledge. In fact, parents are not even able to access past conversations that their minor child may have had with BrdsNBz.
BrdsNBz began as an initiative of Shift NC in 2009 and has since become a program of the American Sexual Health Association, a national organization that is also based in North Carolina. Upon learning about and researching the sex text-line, The Family Foundation of Virginia determined it was receiving federal taxpayer funding from Title V federal grants in Virginia—and perhaps others states—that are intended for abstinence or “sexual risk avoidance education.” As the letter demonstrates, BrdsNBz is by no means providing abstinence education. In response to the question, “How old should I be to have sex?” the anonymous “trained health educator” replied, “It’s not about age and all about when you feel ‘ready.’”
In contrast to this type of information, the letter quotes the Family & Youth Services Bureau statement about the Title V law: “The purpose of the Title V State Sexual Risk Avoidance Education (SRAE) Program is to fund states and territories to implement education exclusively on sexual risk avoidance that teaches youth to voluntarily refrain from sexual activity. The program is designed to teach youth personal responsibility, self-regulation, goal setting, healthy decision-making, a focus on the future, and the prevention of youth risk behaviors such as drug and alcohol use without normalizing teen sexual activity.”
The joint letter urges Secretary Azar to withhold any federal taxpayer funding from the sex text-line and to “exercise all other applicable remedies consistent with law.”
NC Family will continue to keep you updated on this issue and other matters related to sex education in North Carolina so that you can know how to better engage and take necessary action to protect children from invasive and agenda-driven programs like BrdsNBz.