Abstinence-only sex education so bad that states turn down money for programs

jasendorf

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http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/...ll=chi-newsnationworld-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true

Abstinence-only sex ed is just plain stupid... particularly when it is mandated from on-high by the federal government. It is so completely out of touch with the real world that states are now turning down federal funds from the program. Maybe that was actually the goal of abstinence-only programs from the Bush Administration... make a program so crappy that states wouldn't even want the money. He's a wiley one that President Bush!


In an emerging revolt against abstinence-only sex education, states are turning down millions of dollars in federal grants, unwilling to accept White House dictates that the money be used for classes focused almost exclusively on teaching chastity.

In Ohio, Gov. Ted Strickland said that regardless of the state's sluggish economic picture, he simply did not see the point in taking part in the controversial State Abstinence Education Grant program anymore.

Five other states -- Wisconsin, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Montana and New Jersey -- already have dropped the program or plan to do so by year's end. The program is managed by a unit of the U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services.

Illinois accepts federal dollars for abstinence programs and has no plans to forgo the money, said Tom Green, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Human Services.

The agency funds 29 programs around Illinois that get about $1.6 million in federal funds, he said. That figure excludes money from other sources that goes toward abstinence education in the state.

For example, the Glenview-based program Project Reality is receiving $1.2 million in state money to provide curriculum and training for abstinence programs statewide, said executive director Libby Macke. Other organizations apply directly to the federal government for program funding.

The programs have been criticized on a variety of fronts, but their defenders insist the programs can influence teens' behavior.

"We don't preach at them; we engage them in a dialogue and try to find out where they're at," said Barbara Singer, executive director of CareNet Pregnancy Services of DuPage, which does abstinence programs in 28 DuPage County schools. "Kids are out there and they are experimenting, and I think a lot parents don't know it. ... We're really trying to get them to consider having abstinence as an option as a lifestyle."

Most high schools in Illinois are teaching abstinence because they can get the money for those programs, said Steve Trombley, president of Planned Parenthood of Chicago.

"Cash-starved school districts are going with abstinence-only programs even though they don't necessarily believe in them," he said. "We get no government support for comprehensive [sex-education] programs whatsoever."

Ohio's Strickland, like most of the other governors who are pulling the plug on the funding, said last month that the program has too many restrictions and rules to be practical. Among other things, the money cannot be used to promote condom or contraceptive use, and requires teachers to emphasize ideas such as that bearing children outside wedlock is harmful to society and "likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects."
 

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