States Are Just Saying No

Article excerpt

Byline: The Register-Guard

Almost half the states have jumped off the federal government's abstinence-only sex education bandwagon, turning down millions of dollars in grant money for programs that require schools to teach teenagers that sexual activity outside of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects.

Oregon, which received $365,772 in abstinence-only grant funding this year, ought to just say no to any more money for this ineffective approach to sex education.

It doesn't have to be a big contentious deal. Gov. Ted Kulongoski can look Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings right in the eye and calmly say, "Thanks, Secretary Spellings, but the report card on this program keeps getting `Fs,' even in federally funded studies. Oregonians take a dim view of taxes in general, and are even more opposed to wasting the tax money they've already given the government."

End of conversation. If Spellings protests, Kulongoski can cite the April 2007 federally funded study of four abstinence-only programs by Mathematica Policy Research Inc. The study found that participants in abstinence-only programs had just as many sexual partners as nonparticipants and had sex at the same median age as nonparticipants.

In short, abstinence-only sex education isn't any better than no sex education at all. …