by Steven Ertelt
April 29, 2005
Helena, MT (LifeNews.com) — Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer plans to disband a statewide abstinence council credited with helping lower the state’s high teen pregnancy rates. The governor will also cancel an advertisement campaign funded in part with grants from the federal government.
Schweitzer will close down the Governor’s Abstinence Education Advisory Council which supporters say have produced extraordinary results.
An independent research group found that 89% of Montana teens saw the abstinence ads as well as 79 percent of Montana parents. Some 88 percent of the teens want the ads to continue as do 89 percent of Montana parents.
Montana Family Foundation President and former state legislator Jeff Laszloffy sent a letter to Schweitzer Thursday asking him to reconsider.
"This campaign is in its 7th year, and targets high school students with the message that abstaining from sex until marriage is the healthy and smart choice," Laszloffy said.
Laszloffy said the independent poll found that 85% of all respondents felt the ads helped teens avoid pregnancy. A high 61 percent believed teenagers in Montana were facing "a great deal of" peer pressure to have sex.
Eric Schiedermayer of the Montana Catholic Conference echoed Laszloffy’s concerns.
"A recent study of teenagers who took part in a sexual abstinence campaign found they were significantly less likely to have sex or use alcohol, drugs, or tobacco than their peers," he said.
Schiedermayer said Schweitzer has forgotten his own words in his inaugural address, when he said, "We talked about the importance of stopping the next generation from smoking, but now lets talk about healthy choices, healthier living, exercise, healthier eating, responsible use of alcohol."
"Clearly, the governor needs to be reminded of this and his advisors need to be encouraged to study some of the statistical successes of abstinence programs," Schiedermayer concluded.
ACTION: Contact Governor Brian Schweitzer at 406-444-3111 or email [email protected].