Ed Schweppe (edschweppe) wrote,
Ed Schweppe

Massachusetts abstains? Or at least abstains from abstience-only

Just over a year ago, I noted that Mitt Romney (then Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) announced that he was going to have the state apply for Federal abstinence-only education grants, and funnel the money to a specific "faith-based education" outfit. I wasn't particularly impressed, since abstinence-only programs by their nature are required to provide only part of the truth about prophylactics and other contraceptives.

A year has passed, abstinence-only education has been proven completely ineffective at changing teenager's behavior, and Massachusetts has a new Governor (who's not running for the GOP Presidential nomination). Today, Governor Deval Patrick announced that the state was not going to apply for the grants after all:
Governor Deval Patrick wants to end state-sponsored , abstinence-only sex education in Massachusetts, a year after Governor Mitt Romney ordered the Department of Public Health to redirect a long-standing federal abstinence grant to classes that focus exclusively on encouraging teenagers to avoid sexual encounters.
[A] spokesman for the Department of Public Health said the state will not apply for the money.
That's despite a fair amount of lobbying on the issue:
Last year and this year, Raymond B. Ruddy -- president of the Gerard Health Foundation, which has given millions to antiabortion and abstinence groups -- hired lobbyist John Bartley to persuade lawmakers to include the funding in the budget for the program. Ruddy paid Bartley nearly $50,000 last year for his work on this single issue.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I'm not aware of any controlled studies proving the effectiveness of the Our Whole Lives program that I help teach through church - but the anecdotal evidence I've heard is that OWL graduates not only know enough to make good decisions about sex, but actually use that knowledge and make those good decisions.
Tags: owl

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