South Carolina State Profile

The Department of Health and Environmental Control and community-based organizations in South Carolina received $3,740,698 in federal funds for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs in Fiscal Year 2007. 1


South Carolina Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Schools in South Carolina are required to teach sexuality education as well as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) education. Schools are not required to teach about HIV or AIDS. State law specifies that:

In grades 6 through 8 sexually transmitted diseases are to be included as a part of instruction. And, at least one time during the four years of grades 9–12, each student shall receive at least 750 minutes of reproductive health education and pregnancy prevention education.

According to the law:

Reproductive health education means instruction in human physiology, conception, prenatal care and development, childbirth, and postnatal care, but does not include instruction concerning sexual practices outside marriage or practices unrelated to reproduction except within the context of the risk of disease. Abstinence and the risks associated with sexual activity outside of marriage must be strongly emphasized.

The law explains, “Contraceptive information must be given in the context of future family planning,” which has been interpreted to mean that any information about contraception must be in the context of use during marriage. Additionally, no school may distribute contraceptives.

The law states that abstinence-until-marriage must be stressed; pregnancy prevention can be covered and must be taught in gender-divided classes; and adoption can be discussed, but abortion cannot. Finally, it explains:

The program of instruction provided for in this section may not include a discussion of alternate sexual lifestyles from heterosexual relationships including, but not limited to, homosexual relationships, except in the context of instruction concerning sexually transmitted diseases.

The state does not require or suggest a specific curriculum. However, each local school board must “appoint a thirteen member local advisory committee consisting of two parents, three clergy, two health professionals, two teachers, two students, one being the president of the student body of a high school, and two other persons not employed by the local school district.”

South Carolina also states that the Department of Education and local school boards must provide “staff development activities” for educators participating in the comprehensive health program.

Parents must be informed in advance of any sexuality specific instruction and are allowed to remove their children from any part of the health education classes. This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.

See South Carolina Comprehensive Health Education Act Code 59-32.

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Recent Legislation

Birth Control Protection Act Introduced

House Bill 3739, also known as the Birth Control Protection Act, was introduced in March 2007. HB 3739 would enforce the right of consenting individuals to use safe and effective methods of contraceptive without governmental interference. The legislation verifies that individuals have the right to access and obtain contraceptives without governmental “discrimination or interference in the regulation of benefits, facilities or information.” The bill was sent to the House Committee on Medical, Military, Public, and Municipal Affairs on March 21, 2007.

Bill Aims to Amend Discrimination Laws

Senate Bill 438, introduced in February 2007, would amend the Code of Laws of the state pertaining to discrimination by prohibiting the discrimination of an individual in employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Sexual orientation is defined as “an actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality.” Gender identity is defined as “a person’s self-perception, or perception of that person by another, of the person’s identity as a male or female based upon the person’s appearance, behavior or physical characteristics that are in accord with or opposed to the person’s physical anatomy, chromosomal sex, or sex at birth.” The bill was sent to the Senate Committee on Judiciary on February 14, 2007.

Cervical Cancer Prevention Act Introduced

House Bill 3136, also known as the Cervical Cancer Prevention Act, was introduced in December 2006. The bill would require, beginning in 2009–2010 school year, 11-year-old female students enrolling in the seventh grade to have received the cervical cancer vaccine series. Students may be exempt for religious reasons. The bill was tabled on the House floor on April 18, 2007.

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Events of Note

SIECUS is not aware of any recent events regarding sexuality education in South Carolina.

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South Carolina’s Youth: Statistical Information of Note2

  • In 2007, 49% of female high school students and 55% of male high school students in South Carolina reported ever having had sexual intercourse compared to 46% of female high school students and 50% of male high school students nationwide.
  • In 2007, 6% of female high school students and 14% of male high school students in South Carolina reported having had sexual intercourse before age 13 compared to 4% of female high school students and 10% of male high school students nationwide.
  • In 2007, 15% of female high school students and 21% of male high school students in South Carolina reported having had four or more lifetime sexual partners compared to 12% of female high school students and 18% of male high school students nationwide.
  • In 2007, 37% of female high school students and 35% of male high school students in South Carolina reported being currently sexually active (defined as having had sexual intercourse in the three months prior to the survey) compared to 36% of female high school students and 34% of male high school students nationwide.
  • In 2007, among those high school students who reported being currently sexually active, 57% of females and 68% of males in South Carolina reported having used condoms the last time they had sexual intercourse compared to 55% of females and 69% of males nationwide.
  • In 2007, among those high school students who reported being currently sexually active, 16% of females and 11% of males in South Carolina reported having used birth control pills the last time they had sexual intercourse compared to 19% of females and 13% of males nationwide.
  • In 2007, among those high school students who reported being currently sexually active, 17% of females and 21% of males in South Carolina reported having used alcohol or drugs the last time they had sexual intercourse compared to 18% of females and 28% of males nationwide.
  • In 2007, 87% of high school students in South Carolina reported having been taught about AIDS/HIV in school compared to 90% of high school students nationwide.

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Title V Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Funding

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) received $751,961 in federal Title V Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Funding in Fiscal Year 2007. The Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage grant requires states to provide three state-raised dollars or the equivalent in services for every four federal dollars received. The state match may be provided in part or in full by local groups. The South Carolina DHEC controls the Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage funds and sub-grantees are required to make the match.

In 2007, two organizations received Title V funding: South Carolina Parents Involved in Education (SC PIE) and Heritage Community Services. (See the CBAE and AFLA section for more information on Heritage Community Services.)

SC PIE provides abstinence-only-until-marriage programming to students, parents, and healthcare providers in public schools and faith communities. The organization uses Worth the Wait, a popular fear-based abstinence-only-until-marriage curriculum.3 SIECUS reviewed Worth the Wait and found that it covers some important topics related to sexuality such as puberty, anatomy, and sexual abuse, and that the curriculum is based on reliable sources of data. Despite these strengths, Worth the Wait relies on messages of fear, discourages contraceptive use, and promotes biased views of gender, marriage, and pregnancy options. For example, the curriculum explains, “teenage sexual activity can create a multitude of medical, legal, and economic problems not only for the individuals having sex but for society as a whole.”4

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Community-Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) and Adolescent Family Life Act (AFLA) Grantees

There are four CBAE grantees in South Carolina: Clarendon School District Two, Heritage Community Services, Life Support, Inc., and South Carolina Parents Involved in Education (SC PIE). There are two AFLA grantees in South Carolina: The Children’s Council and Medical University of South Carolina.

Heritage Community Services, is a Title V sub-grantee and receives a CBAE grant. Heritage Community Services offers extensive abstinence-only-until-marriage programs within South Carolina, but has also expanded throughout the United States, with affiliated Heritage organizations in Kentucky, Maine, and Rhode Island.5

Heritage Community Services was first formed in 1995 by Anne Badgley, who remains the President and CEO. Badgley formed the group as an adjunct to the Lowcountry Crisis Pregnancy Center which she founded in 1986 and continues to run. Crisis Pregnancy Centers typically advertise as providing medical services and then use anti-abortion propaganda, misinformation, and fear and shame tactics to dissuade women facing unintended pregnancy from exercising their right to choose.

While the two groups have since become separate non-profits, they remain closely linked, sharing the same office as well as some staff members. In addition, Badgley has close ties with other crisis pregnancy centers and serves on the National CareNet Centers for Tomorrow Advisory Board. According to its website, CareNet’s mission is “to promote a culture of life through the delivery of valuable, life-affirming, evangelistic ministry to people facing unplanned pregnancies and related sexual issues.” 6

Over the years, Heritage Community Services has seen a great deal of favoritism from the government in South Carolina. In a highly irregular use of Title V Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Funding, South Carolina awarded the entire amount of its federal and state funding to Heritage Community Services without first engaging in a competitive bidding process in the first years of the program. In 2004, Heritage Community Services was also the sole South Carolina recipient of Community Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) money.

The vast amounts of taxpayer funding and political favoritism lavished upon Heritage Community Services, both at the state and federal level, has enabled its program to break out beyond the state's borders. According to Heritage Community Services, its materials are now being utilized in schools in Augusta, GA; Lexington, KY; Florida; Maine; Massachusetts; North Carolina; Rhode Island; and the Caribbean.7 A fact sheet from the organization explains that there are additional communities interested in setting up programs in Arizona, California, Delaware, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Africa.8

The organization has created several curricula used for abstinence-only-until-marriage-programs including Heritage Keepers Abstinence Education and Heritage Keepers Life Skills Education. SIECUS reviewed Heritage Keepers, Abstinence Education I and found that itcontains very little information about important topics in human sexuality such as puberty, anatomy, and sexual behavior. Even topics that are frequently discussed in detail in other abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, such as condoms and STDs, receive very little mention. Instead, the curriculum devotes most of its lessons to the importance of marriage and abstinence before marriage. It relies on messages of fear and shame and promotes biased views of gender, marriage, and pregnancy options. For example, the curriculum tells students “Males are more sight orientated whereas females are more touch orientated. This is why girls need to be careful with what they wear, because males are looking! The girl might be thinking fashion, while the boy is thinking sex. For this reason, girls have a responsibility to wear modest clothing that doesn't invite lustful thoughts.”9

One article on the “Teen Pulse” section of Heritage Community Service’s website advises young people, “What many people don’t realize is that those who abstain from sexual activity outside of marriage are protecting themselves physically, financially, and emotionally by waiting until someone loves them enough to make a real commitment to them and to their future children.”10

Another CBAE grantee, South Carolina Parents Involved in Education (SC PIE), has several “school district partners” including Dillon District 1 & 2, Florence 1, 2 & 4, Lexington/Richland 5, Marlboro County, Marion District 7, and Orangeburg 5. SC PIE is run by Sheri Few, who helped direct South Carolina’s Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage programming for the first years of its existence. Ms. Few also co-authored the Healthy Image of Sex (HIS) abstinence-only-until-marriage curriculum.

One part of the HIS teacher guide instructs, “Ask students to consider what happens when these powerful things are used in healthy and unhealthy ways. Plane—consider Twin Towers; Cars—consider when used by children under age or people on drugs; Guns—when used by people who are not trained or do not have authority, or for play by children; Fire—when played with or when not in a safe place. Like many things with potential great benefits, sex can be damaging as well. Marriage is the safe place, outside of marriage is dangerous.”11

SC PIE has a subcontract with fellow CBAE grantee Life Support, Inc., the organization explains the collaboration by saying, “A subcontract with Life Support Inc. provides concentrated efforts in the African American faith community of the targeted school districts. At least 42 churches in these communities are training their clergy, lay leaders, and parents to implement the Healthy Image of Sex curriculum, specifically designed for this target population.”12

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Federal and State Funding for Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs in FY 2007

Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Grantee Length of Grant Amount of Grant Type of Grant (includes Title V, CBAE, AFLA, and other funds)

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control

$751,961 federal

Title V

Heritage Community Services


Title V sub-grantee





Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Grantee
Length of Grant

Amount of Grant

Type of Grant (includes Title V, CBAE, AFLA, and other funds)

South Carolina Parents Involved in Education (SC PIE)



Title V sub-grantee


Clarendon School District Two



Life Support, Incorporated



The Children’s Council



Medical University of South Carolina



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Adolescent Health Contact13
Owens Goff
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
Bureau of Maternal and Child Health
Mills/Jarrett Complex
1751 Calhoun St.
Columbia, SC 29201
Phone: (803) 545-4483

South Carolina Organizations that Support Comprehensive Sexuality Education

ACLU of South Carolina
2712 Middleburg Dr., Suite 104
Columbia, SC 29204
Phone: (803) 799-5151

New Morning Foundation
P.O. Box 11531
Columbia, SC 29211
Phone: (803) 929-0088

South Carolina Campaign to Prevent
Teen Pregnancy
1331 Elmwood Ave., Suite 140
Columbia, SC 29201
Phone: (803) 771-7700


South Carolina Organizations that Oppose Comprehensive Sexuality Education

Heritage Community Services
2810 Ashley Phosphate Rd., Suite B-9
Charleston, SC 29418
Phone: (843) 863-0508, ext. 119

SC Parents Involved in Education
PO Box 819
Lugoff, SC 29078
Phone: (8093) 408-0860

Palmetto Family Council
P.O. Box 11953
Columbia, SC 29211
Phone: (803)733-5600

Newspapers in South Carolina14

Charleston City Paper
1049 B Morrison Dr.
Charleston, SC 29403
Phone: (843) 577-5304

Free Times
6904 Main St. #108
Columbia, SC 29203
Phone: (803) 765-0707

The Greenville News
P.O. Box 1688
Greenville, SC 29602
Phone: (864) 298-4100

The Post and Courier
134 Columbus St.
Charleston, SC 29403
Phone: (843) 577-7111

Spartanburg Herald-Journal
189 W. Main St.
Spartanburg, SC 29306
Phone: (864) 562-7218

The State
P.O. Box 1333
Columbia, SC 29202
Phone: (803) 771-8380

The Sun News
914 Frontage Rd. E
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
Phone: (843) 626-8555


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  1. This refers to the fiscal year for the Federal Government which begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, Fiscal Year 2007 begins on October 1, 2006 and ends on September 30, 2007.
  2. Unless otherwise cited, all statistical information comes from: Danice K. Eaton, et. al., “Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—United States, 2007,” Surveillance Summaries, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 57.SS-4 (6 June 2008), accessed 4 June 2008,>.
  3. “Abstinence,” South Carolina Parents Involved in Abstinence Education, (1999-2006), accessed 4 April 2008, <>.
  4. Patricia Sulak, Worth the Wait (Temple, TX: Scott & White Memorial Hospital, 2003). For more information, see SIECUS’ review of Worth the Wait at <>.
  5. Heritage of Rhode Island closed its doors in December of 2007 after its federal abstinence-only-until-marriage grant was not renewed. See the Rhode Island state profile for more information.
  6. Our Mission , CareNet Website, accessed 14 July 2008, >.
  7. Heritage Community Services Conference Brochure, "Family Formation: A New Generation of Leadership, July 13-14, 2004."
  8. Ibid.
  9. Anne Badgley and Carrie Musselman, Heritage Keepers Student Manual (Charleston, SC: Heritage Community Services, 1999). For more information, see SIECUS’ review of Heritage Keepers at
  10. “Teen Pulse: Secondary Virginity,” Heritage Community Services, (2005–2006), accessed 4 April 2008, <>.
  11. Pamela L. Jones and Sheri Few, Health Images of Sex (HIS) Version I, (Lugoff, SC: Healthy Image of Sex, 2008), p. 9.
  12. “Abstinence,” South Carolina Parents Involved in Abstinence Education, (1999–2006), accessed 4 April 2008 <>.
  13. SIECUS has identified this person as a state-based contact for information on adolescent health and if applicable, abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.
  14. This section is a list of major newspapers in your state with contact information for their newsrooms.This list is by no means inclusive and does not contain the local level newspapers which are integral to getting your message out to your community.SIECUS strongly urges you to follow stories about the issues that concern you on the national, state, and local level by using an internet news alert service such as Google alerts, becoming an avid reader of your local papers, and establishing relationships with reporters who cover your issues. For more information on how to achieve your media goals visit the SIECUS Community Action Kit.

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