Yesterday, we let you know that Governor Bob McDonnell had the chance to accept federal funding for comprehensive sex education through the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP). As we mentioned, the Obama Administration offered the funding for this program for states with no state match (meaning states would not have to put up their own money for the program). Additionally, accepting this funding would not prevent the state from also accepting Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage curricula funding (programs that do require that the state match funding). McDonnell could have applied for both.
So did he opt for commonsense programs that would protect the health of Virginia’s youth and save the Commonwealth money? Nope.
Did he at least compromise and apply for abstinence-only-until-marriage funding and the no-cost funding for proven effective comprehensive sex education funding? Not even close.
McDonnell, in his quest to uphold his and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s medieval views on reproductive health, decided to forego the federal grant for the PREP curriculum in favor of ab-only funding that the state of Virginia will have to match. Worth pointing out is the fact that Virginia’s previous governor declined “abstinence-only” funds in the past because the programs were such a failure. McDonnell chooses to let ideology trump teen health.
He announces his decision on the same day that the Roanoke Times reports that parents in Roanoke city support school-based comprehensive sex education programs! If our governor is not even listening to his constituents, to whom is he listening?
We have to put ideology behind us and focus on promoting age-appropriate comprehensive medically accurate sex education for our youth. After years of Bush-administration deference to abstinence-only-until-marriage programs teen birth rates are again on the rise, which has serious consequences, including the fact that teen mothers are more likely to drop out of high school than teens who delay childbearing. We should not continue funneling money into these ineffective programs.
Time and again, studies show that abstinence-only curricula are fraught with misinformation, including inaccuracies about condoms and stereotypes of girls as gatekeepers and boys as aggressors. Additionally, these programs fail to have any appreciable effect whatsoever on knowledge or behavior.
We are highly disappointed that Governor McDonnell has chosen to put the welfare of our youth in jeopardy just so he can adhere to an ideology espoused by like-minded anti-choice Virginia elected officials like out-of-touch Attorney General Cuccinelli.
Yours in choice!
[Thanks to our intern Kripa for her work on this post.]