Monday, November 19, 2007
Washington Post: Just Say No
A Washington Post editorial supports Virginia Governor Kaine's refusal to accept federal funds for abstinence-only "sexuality education" programs:
GOV. TIMOTHY M. Kaine (D) is taking flak for it, but he was right to cut $275,000 from the state budget that was designated for abstinence-only sex education programs. The funds would have matched federal grants to five nonprofit programs encouraging teenagers to abstain from sex; overall, the Bush administration has committed $176 million this year to this kind of instruction. Virginia joins 13 other states that have junked these programs. And with good reason: They're not as effective as their proponents profess.
A report commissioned by Congress and released in April made that clear. In 2005 and 2006, a survey was conducted of 2,000 teens in two rural and two urban communities. Students who received abstinence-only instruction were just as likely to have sex as those in a control group who did not receive such education. Among teens in both groups who had sex by the end of the study period, the average age of a first sexual encounter was 14.9 years. In both groups, a majority of those who were sexually active reported having two or more partners. Just 23 percent in both groups said they always used condoms when having sex. Mr. Kaine cited this report to buttress his decision.
"We don't want to put money into programs that don't work," Delacey Skinner, Mr. Kaine's chief spokeswoman, told us Wednesday. Republicans in the House of Delegates and state Senate vow to reverse Mr. Kaine's decision.