Abstinence Education Supporters Defend Programs Despite State Budget Cuts

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 24, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Abstinence Education Supporters Defend Programs Despite State Budget Cuts

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
June 24
, 2008

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Almost half the states in the nation have cut their abstinence education funding programs by turning down the grant money the federal government makes available for them. The cuts are coming in part because states are having a hard time putting forth matching funds.

But the biggest reason is the pro-abortion push against abstinence programs because federal and state funds have been diverted from Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion business.

Iowa was one of the first states to pull the funding and Emily Hajek, policy adviser to pro-abortion Gov. Chet Culver, told AP the reason was because the requirements to support abstinence-only education were too strict.

"It was just too strict," she said. "You cannot be that prescriptive about how it has to be taught."

Elke Shaw-Tulloch of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare also told AP about her state’s reasons for dumping the program.

"We got to the point where we didn’t have any infrastructure to put the money to use. At the same time, there was mounting evidence the abstinence programs weren’t proving to be effective," she said.

But Leslee Unruh, the head of the Abstinence Clearinghouse says that’s hogwash.

“While opponents to sexual integrity education blame abstinence programs for these numbers, I think it’s high time they took a look in the mirror,” she says.

She points to studies showing abstinence education is far out-funded by money used to promote birth control and contraception and indicated contraception is taught in the classroom more often than abstinence.

Most parents are actually shocked to learn that the programs promoting sex outside-of-marriage out-fund abstinence-until-marriage programs by a rate of nearly $12 to $1, Unruh says.

That gives kids a confusing message that tells some being sexually active is all right and others that waiting until marriage saves them from heartache, sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies that could lead to abortion.

“The only skewed message our youth receive is the one that teaches them they have no self-control, teaches them how to have sex and ultimately puts their lives at risk. We need to stop making ‘sex seekers’ out of our youth," Unruh says.

Ultimately, Unruh says teens and young adults need more consistent values and that abstinence education presents the kind of self-worth lessons students need.

"Let’s do the right thing for youth by raising the bar for their sexual health from lust to love. Let’s provide them the tools they need for self-control, to withstand the pressures, reject sexual advances, form healthy relationships and protect their bodies and their minds," she concludes.

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