The Sunday Washington Post had an article detailing the states dropping out of federal abstinence-only education funds:
At least 14 states have either notified the federal government that they will no longer be requesting the funds or are not expected to apply, forgoing more than $15 million of the $50 million available, officials said. Virginia was the most recent state to opt out.
Virginia is just the latest in a string of states to reject abstinence-only funding. The number is growing, not shrinking.
And good riddance.
These programs are completely ineffective if the goal is to decrease teen pregnancy, STD infection rates, and increase sexual consciousness. Instead of having an ideologue stand in front of classroom telling kids "No, no, no" while teens go out and have sex anyway, we ought to be providing them the education that they'll need to protect themselves and their partners and to learn to appreciate sexuality.
But if the goal is to pretend like teen sex doesn't happen, shame those who have sex into not talking about it, and further entrench the myth of normative sexuality, then I suppose there's something to these programs.
The article cites states dropping out as the key that will topple these programs. I don't really know what will get rid of them, since even the Democrats are willing to fund abstinence-only $28 million further while they control Congress, but these states have to look out for themselves. The funding requires not just that these programs teach only abstinence, but that they match federal funds themselves.
So they're being asked not only to waste their citizens' federal tax dollars, but also their state tax dollars.
Not to mention the cruel homophobia in telling the kids to wait for marriage when in many of these states the gay kids can't get married. Of course, there's a certain amount of spunk in these kids that makes most of them ignore being told to be celibate their whole lives, and that's great, but that needs to be balanced out with education about risk and risk prevention and openness about sexuality.
This is a direct subsidy of sexism, homophobia, unsafe sex, sexphobia, and the Religious Right, and I have no idea why Congressional Democrats aren't just pulling the plug by redirecting the funding to comprehensive sex education. At least some states are getting the message.
Virginia's just the latest state to say no to this money. The others are Ohio, Washington, Maine, California, New Jersey, Colorado, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Montana.