Shelby Knox: Exploited by the Sexual Rights Agenda?

Shelby Knox 1

In 2001, Shelby Knox was a 15 year old high school student in Lubbock, Texas. A local charismatic preacher addressed the assembly at her school and preached about the consequences of sex and about how important it was to abstain from sex to prevent pregnancy and STDs.

Knowing that many of the girls in her school were sexually active and pregnant, Shelby was right to feel that her peers needed to know much more than “Just Say No!”

This event and Shelby’s zeal for justice to protect her sexually active peers helped to launch a movement, including her own documentary, which has spread beyond Texas to the nation. She has become a strong advocate for Comprehensive Sex Education and an ardent opponent of Abstinence-Until-Marriage Education.

Most will agree that age appropriate, medically accurate sex education needs to be taught to adolescents and teens, either in school or by their parents. The problem is, who defines these terms? If Comprehensive Sex Education in the schools were truly “age appropriate,” “medically accurate” and “comprehensive,” then we would have no argument with Shelby Knox or anyone else.

However, many so-called “Comprehensive” Sex Education programs are not what they claim to be. Read other blog posts at for information about programs that teach sexual foreplay techniques to adolescents and teens in our public schools.

Shelby was right back in 2001, at least about her own sex ed experience. Most “abstinence-only” sex ed back in 2001 was Mom & Pop, fear and shame-based, “faith-based” sex education, which lacked referenced medically accurate information. Some of these programs are still around today. Until the mid 90’s, many abstinence-only education programs were cobbled together from different sources and presented by well-meaning volunteers with varying degrees of credibility.

That is precisely why in 1996, when President Clinton signed Welfare Reform, that Abstinence Education was strictly defined by Congress (A-H) and all programs were required to comply with rigorous standards in order to qualify for any Title V Abstinence Education funding.

Some of the goals under Welfare Reform were to increase sustainable two parent families and decrease unwed teen pregnancies by promoting Healthy Family Formation. Funding for A-H Abstinence Education was established to change teen sexual behavior by motivating them to delay sex until marriage, become self-sufficient, and then get married before having children.

Not only were the A-H requirements science-based, but all funded programs had to be science-based.  None of the curricula funded could be faith-based. 

In addition, these programs would be required to set aside a specified percent of their funding for independent evaluations that would be conducted over the subsequent decade to determine if they could increase abstinence among vulnerable adolescents and teens and decrease teen pregnancies.

Such federal and state regulation, oversight, and scrutiny has been unprecedented for any funded sex related program in the nation.

So, as much as Shelby Knox, and the Sexual Rights Groups that have apparently radicalized her, want to blame Texas law, then Gov. Bush, and federal funding for Abstinence-only education, Shelby and her peers never received anything close to an A-H funded abstinence education program. All A-H Abstinence Education programs were still in their infancy in 2001.

Plus, since none of these programs are allowed to be faith-based, there is no way that Shelby and her peers were exposed to or hurt by any of the A-H federally funded Abstinence Education programs that she and her new colleagues now seek to deride and defund.

So, while Shelby Knox has every right to complain about her personal sex ed experience when she was 15, she does not have the right to lump together her bad experience with Evidence-based abstinence-until-marriage programs that have been proven effective over the past decade.

We are worried about Shelby, who like so many her age, is being exploited by Sexual Rights Groups to promote sex without consequences and without boundaries; the very opposite intent of Welfare Reform.