The value of education in a total family planning program.
This reference sheet examines sexuality education and what it contributes to the total program of a Planned Parenthood affilitate in order to provide a counterbalance to the assumption that there is no problem with diminishing or abandoning education. Clearly, education does contribute to the overall patient recruitment effort. A sexuality education program ideally covers patient, professional, and public education activities. The effect of the Planned Parenthood educational programs on young men and women can provide a direct stimulus, or can promote clinic attendance through the recommendation of "a friend" who has read a Planned Parenthood pamphlet, seen an educator giving a workshop, or educator discuss the confidentiality of services on a radio talk show. Based on the responses of the Education Department received from the 20 largest affiliates during the parental notification commitment period, it is estimated that over 300,000 parents are being reached per year across the country. These programs have significant impact on both teenage pregnancy and patient recruitment. Efforts with adolescent males also contribute to patient recruitment. Research consistently shows that the male partner's attitudes about family planning are key influences on the female's decision to come to a clinic. Education's impact on reducing teenage pregnancy can result from its role in stimulating patient recruitment. In addition, one must ask how many individuals there are who have benefitted from an education presentation or educational material, yet who never come to the clinic in a time and fashion that would allow Planned Parenthood to document its role in that decision. Research on the impact of sexuality education is now growing in both frequency and sophistication. The recent study with the Johns Hopkins University national sample of teenage women validates the trends seen in over 60 previous research studies: sexuality education does not stimulate sexual behavior and if contraceptive information is included, it is associated with fewer pregnancies due to more effective contraceptive use. Planned Parenthood's sexuality education programs have had a significant impact on improving the climate for family planning service delivery. Throughout the Federation, it may be that education is responsible for attracting millions of dollars of unrestricted giving, and this should be kept in mind as the difficult budget decisions are made.