Hawaii House Committee Approves Bills De-Funding Abstinence Education Efforts
by Steven Ertelt
February 16, 2009
Honolulu, HI (LifeNews.com) — A Hawaii state House committee last week approved two bills — one which would revoke funding for abstinence education and the other to fund Planned Parenthood. The Hawaii House Committee on Education approved the bills on Wednesday despite objections from pro-life advocates.
One of the bills would reject federal funding for abstinence-only education programs and the second requires comprehensive teaching of sexual education.
If the bills become law, Hawaii would join 25 other states that have rejected federal funding for abstinence-only education programs under Title V funding.
Sonia Blackiston, director of education and training for Planned Parenthood of Hawaii, claims many studies have found abstinence-only education is "ineffective" and "does not delay sexual activity."
But Danny Morishige, director of the Try Wait! Program at Catholic Charities of Hawaii, which has provided abstinence-only education to more than 10,000 public and private schools, said the bills are sending the wrongful message that "abstinence-only education is not effective."
Morishige pointed out that there is "ongoing research that is showing that there are abstinence programs that are effective," according to the Honolulu Advertiser.
Carol White, the secretary of Hawaii Right to Life, also supports abstinence education efforts.
She called Planned Parenthood "would-be censors" who "offered testimony packed with misinformation."
"For example, an oft-cited Johns Hopkins report compared abstinence pledgers to nonpledgers. The researcher neglected to mention that the pledge-takers abstained from sex four years longer than the control group: age 21 versus 17 for nonpledgers," White explained about the study Blackiston cited.
White says other studies provide a more accurate picture of the effectiveness of abstinence programs.
"Dr. Stan Weed, a leading researcher on youth behavior, examined more than 100 different abstinence programs, collecting data from nearly 500,000 adolescents and interviewing more than 2,000 teens," she says. "He testified before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that abstinence education can cut in half the rates of teen sexual activity, and that abstinence education classes do not deter sexually active teens from using condoms."
"The Department of Health testified that abstinence-only audiences have access to other state-funded programs for comprehensive sex education. Why are these bills being pushed?" White concluded.
The bills are H.B. 329, H.B. 330.
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