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Polls in California and Ohio Show Support for Comprehensive Sexuality Education

Two recent polls add to the growing mountain of evidence that shows people across the country support comprehensive sexuality education over abstinence-only-until-marriage programming.  A recent poll in California shows that parents in that state, regardless of religious and political leanings, support comprehensive sexuality education.  In Ohio, a recent poll points to residents’ support for Governor Strickland’s decision to reject federal Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage funding. 

The Bay Area Public Health Institute, with the backing of the California Wellness Foundation, recently surveyed over 1,200 English and Spanish speaking parents in California and found that 89 percent of parents across the state want comprehensive sexuality education for their kids.1  Among evangelical Christian parents, 86 percent support sexuality education that includes information about contraception, protection from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and abstinence.  Even among the most conservative subgroup of parents, 71 percent showed support for comprehensive sexuality education.2

A poll conducted by Quinnipiac University shows that 51 percent of Ohioans support Governor Strickland’s decision to reject Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage funding compared to just 40 percent who oppose it. 3  Among Ohioans with children in public schools, the percentage supporting the Governor’s decision increases to 53%, with only 35% in opposition.  In addition, 71% of Ohioans, cutting across political affiliations, support an “abstinence-plus” approach to teaching sexuality education that integrates promotion of abstinence for school-age youth with education on contraceptives and condoms.4

These polls once again confirm the overwhelming support among Americans for comprehensive sexuality education that includes information about abstinence, contraceptives, and condoms.  A 2004 study by National Public Radio and others found that 95% of parents of junior high school students and 93% of parents of high school students believe that birth control and other methods of preventing pregnancy are appropriate topics in sexuality education programs in schools.5 In addition, the same study found that 72% of parents of junior high school students and 65% of parents of high school students agreed that federal government dollars “should be used to fund more comprehensive sex education programs that include information on how to obtain and use condoms and other contraceptives” instead of funding programs that have “abstaining from sexual activity” as their only purpose.6

California never accepted Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage funding after its own 1997 evaluation of similar programs showed them to be ineffective.7  Ohio Governor Strickland announced his decision to reject federal funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs this year bringing the total number of states who will be rejecting Title V funding to ten.8

For more information on public opinion around comprehensive sexuality education, please see SIECUS’ fact sheet On Our Side: Public Support for Comprehensive Sexuality Education at http://www.siecus.local/policy/public_support.pdf.


  1. Jessie Mangaliman,Sex-ed supported by 89% of California parents, poll finds religion not a factor,”
    Mercury News, 24 May 2007, accessed 18 June 2007, <>.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Darrel Rowland, “Support found for sick days, not charter schools,” The Columbus Dispatch, 16 May 2007, accessed 6 June 2007, <
  4. Ibid.
  5. Sex Education in America: General Public/Parents Survey (Washington, DC: National Public Radio, 2004), 9.
  6. Ibid., 7.
  7. Douglas Kirby, et. al., “The impact of the Postponing Sexual Involvement curriculum among youths in California,” Family Planning Perspectives 29 (1997): 100-108.
  8. Laura Bischoff, “Ohio won’t seek abstinence-only funds,” Dayton Daily News, 22 March 2007, accessed 6 June 2007, <