by Steven Ertelt
November 13, 2007
Richmond, VA (LifeNews.com) — Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine made his state the fourteenth to reject federal funds for abstinence education. The decision, which affects nearly 15 nonprofit programs, raises the number of states that have rejected the funds to help teenagers avoid abortions by initially avoiding sexual relations.
Saying it is part of his effort to reduce the state’s alleged budget deficit, Governor Tim Kaine has chosen to eliminate $275,000 of funding for abstinence education programs in Virginia’s public schools.
Although Kaine insisted the reasons were largely financial, Virginia’s comprehensive sexual education programs will not see a cut in funding.
"The governor wants to see us funding programs that are evidence-based," said Delacey Skinner, the governor’s communication director."
Kaine’s office cited the recent study by Mathematica, whose sweeping conclusions about abstinence were based on data from fewer than one percent of the programs.
Many are criticizing the timing of the announcement, which was obviously postponed to minimize the political damage to Democrats during last week’s elections. Abortion advocates took over the state Senate there.
However, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council told LifeNews.com "The most obvious beneficiary, Planned Parenthood, had lobbied for this change since Kaine’s election."
The governor’s strategy may work in the short term, but leaders like Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R) say the debate is far from over. He and other social conservatives have promised to make reinstating funding for abstinence education a top priority when the legislature convenes in January.
"Theirs will be a difficult battle in a state now moving toward the Democrats, many of whom–like Gov. Kaine–campaigned as moderate," Perkins added.
Victoria Cobb, the president of the Family Foundation, also reacted strongly against the move.
"Kaine’s move flies in the face of successful abstinence programs," she told LifeNews.com.
"As recently as last year, the Virginia Department of Health reported that Virginia’s school kids are very receptive to the abstinence message," she added. "The department said that students participating in the evaluation say they strongly agree that having sex as a teenager would make it harder for them to study and stay in school in the future."
According to the Centers for Disease Control, nationwide there has been a 13 percent decrease in the percentage of teens who have ever had sex between 1991 and 2005.