When 'fair balance,' isn't?

September 1, 2015

Readers react to Contemporary Pediatrics discussion with Diane Foley, MD

Representative of feedback we received in our issue on teen pregnancy prevention (June 2015), was this from Catherine D Shubkin, MD, from Lebanon, New Hampshire. One of our related features was a video chat with Diane Foley, MD, of the American College of Pediatricians (ACP) on abstinence education.

Dr. Shubkin: “Thank you very much for highlighting prevention of teen pregnancy in your June 2015 issue of Contemporary Pediatrics. Your focus on Long Acting Contraception, emergency contraception, and engaging pediatricians in the discussion of pregnancy prevention is commendable.

However, I have grave misgivings about your headline and video “Does ‘They’ll Do it Anyway’ Sell Teens Short?” which promotes the ideas of .. American College of Pediatricians, whose viewpoints are not scientifically valid, nor do they represent the standard of care for pediatric and adolescent patients. The ACP promotes abstinence-only education, which repeatedly has been disproven as an effective means of pregnancy prevention..

Presenting a scientifically invalid point of view as a legitimate “counterpoint” does grave disservice to the medical and scientific community, and most importantly, prevents families and patients from having a clear understanding of important issues surrounding their health. While all pediatricians and families do encourage teens to delay sexual activity, it must be recognized that abstinence-only education has been consistently shown to be ineffective and potentially harmful by not giving teens or their parents the information needed to make responsible sexual health choices.”

CP: In an effort to be thorough in our treatment of the topic, we reach out to Dr Foley to inquire about ACP’s stance on abstinence as risk reduction, inviting her to provide evidence to back this stance, and to provide a rationale as to why pediatricians should consider incorporating abstinence education in their anticipatory guidance. Our conversation with Dr Foley in no way sanctions the ACP or its views on abstinence as comprehensive sex education. We wished to provide a wide-ranging discussion on this topic for our readers.

What’s your view? How’d we do? Ping us at cradwan@advanstar.com