by Steven Ertelt
April 14, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — During the faith forum at Messiah College on Sunday night, pro-abortion Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama made it clear he doesn’t support abstinence-only education. Instead, he wants comprehensive sex-ed that includes contraception and birth control.
Though unmarried students who have signed a no-sex pledge to remain abstinent until marriage attended the event, Obama said their decision wasn’t enough.
"What I have consistently talked about is to take a comprehensive approach where we focus on abstinence," he said. "I do believe that contraception has to be part of that education process."
Later in the forum, Frank Page of the Southern Baptist Convention talked about the abstinence-only education program True Love Waits and mentioned its success.
Page said it "has been credited by the government of Uganda for lowering the AIDS infection rate there dramatically from 30 percent to 6 percent."
Obama repeated his belief in forcing contraception-based sexual education into the abstinence-only program.
"[There] should be a strong education component and I think abstinence education is important. I also think that contraception is important," he said.
Obama also appeared to indicate he doesn’t want the government funding just abstinence-only education.
"So I don’t want to pluck out one facet of it. Now, that doesn’t mean that non-for-profit groups can’t focus on one thing while the government focuses on other things," he said.
In fact, the Uganda program has been successful because it has been focused on abstinence.
Washington-area investigative writer Carey Roberts wrote in a Washington Times article in late 2004 that Uganda has been using abstinence to combat AIDS for 15 years.
"The results were impressive: the HIV infection rate in Uganda dropped from 15 percent to 5 percent. In 1991, 21 percent of pregnant women had the deadly HIV virus. Ten years later, that figure had dropped to 6 percent," Roberts wrote in the Times article.
In fact, only 6.2% of Ugandans in the 15-49 age group are now HIV-positive, compared with more than 15% in the early 1990s.
Rev. Sam Lawrence Ruteikara of the Anglican Church of Uganda, who has received funds from the U.S. government, says the abstinence message makes more sense to promote to younger teens than using condoms.
"Why give an alternative and have them take a risk," he told the Associated Press.
"This person doesn’t have a sexual partner, so why should I report too much, saying that in case you get a sexual partner, please use a condom. I am saying, please don’t get a sexual partner — don’t get involved because it is risky," he explained.
AIDS has killed as many as 25 million people worldwide and infected more than 40 million others since it was discovered 25 years ago.
More than 60 percent of the people infected with the AIDS virus live in sub-Saharan Africa. South Africa has the highest number of HIV-infected people in the world.