by Steven Ertelt
March 22, 2007
Columbus, OH (LifeNews.com) — Ohio Governor Ted Strickland wants to cut out state funding for abstinence education — a move that is drawing criticism from pro-life groups and legislators. The pro-abortion Democrat has proposed a new budge that entirely eliminates the $500,000 the state normally spends annually on encouraging kids to practice abstinence.
A spokesman for the governor says Strickland will not apply for any more federal funds for abstinence education for future budgets.
The Western Star newspaper carried a quote from the governor about his decision.
"Quite frankly, I don’t believe abstinence-only education programs work in the long run," Strickland said.
"There is some evidence that they may delay the onset of sexual activity, but over the long term there’s not data there that show they prevent, in a statistical sense, sexual activity outside of marriage," he claimed.
However, the governor’s allegation doesn’t square with the facts.
Abstinence education groups have spent $23.7 million in federal funds with $5 million of that going through the state health department. The state has been spending $500,000 annually to go along with those grants.
The money has paid dividends as teen pregnancy rates have been on the decline — dropping from 42.3 pregnancies per 1,000 girls aged 10-19 in 1997 to 33.1 in 2005.
The programs have been helped by a 1999 state law requiring local school districts to adopt cirriculum promoting abstinence.
The Ohio state legislature will be considering the state budget in the next few months and pro-life lawmakers will likely try to insert the funding back into the budget.
Pro-life groups are already lining up to lobby state legislators to restore the money and Paula Westwood, the director of Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati, told LifeNews.com in an email that Ohio residents want abstinence funding.
She also says abstinence education programs work and help teenagers avoid various consequences.
"Young single women who engage in sexual activity outside marriage are most at-risk for pregnancies ending in abortion, sexually transmitted diseases, abuse by predatory men, and more," Westwood said.
Related web sites:
Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati – https://www.cincinnatirighttolife.org