Hannity Falsely Claims Government Encourages Sex Among Young Girls
Fox News' Sean Hannity mischaracterized a Department of Health and Human Services website dedicated to educating girls about making positive health decisions, taking the website out of context in order to claim it encouraged young children to have sex.
On his radio show, Hannity hyped a CNS News article that claimed a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) website, girlshealth.gov, informs girls age 10 to 16 “about birth control, gay sex, and mutual masturbation.” Hannity described the website as “spreading the wonders of anal sex and mutual masturbation courtesy of the Obama administration.” Hannity went on to complain about “a graphic depiction of sex” on the website, claiming “that's government-run health care”:
But Hannity's description of the website is incredibly misleading. The site is dedicated to educating girls about how to make safe and positive health decisions, including promoting abstinence. The website was created to “help girls learn about health, growing up and issues they may face” by giving them “reliable and useful health information”:
The mission of girlshealth.gov, developed by the Office on Women's Health in HHS in 2002 to promote healthy, positive behaviors in girls between the ages of 10 and 16. The site gives girls reliable, useful information on the health issues they will face as they become young women, and tips on handling relationships with family and friends, at school and at home.
Among the recommendations on sexual health, the website notes that “no sex is the safest sex” and includes a section called “Why waiting makes sense” that explains the dangers of having sex at a young age, including unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. The website includes testimonials from girls who explain their decision to choose abstinence: