There is an old saying, “As Maine goes, so goes the nation.” Which could mean bad news for abstinence-only advocates. Maine has become the third state to refuse federal abstinence education funds.
Under newly tightened federal rules, “This money has to be part of an abstinence-only program,” and that would prevent the state from providing “comprehensive information” to simultaneously encourage abstinence and help sexually active young people, said Dr. Dora Anne Mills, the state’s public-health director.
The federal government is attaching strings to funding that prevents states “from providing ‘comprehensive information'” in sex education… Hold on, I’m letting that sink in… Learning about abstinence is an important part of sex education and should remain so. But not to the exclusion of good information that helps the over 50% of kids that do have sex make better decisions.
For instance, isn’t it wrong to introduce condoms solely in terms of how risky they are? Isn’t it much better to honestly tell kids how to use them correctly to maximize their efficacy? In driver’s education we teach kids to use a seatbelt even though it is possible that a seatbelt will fail to save one’s life in an accident. Kids will take risks. Isn’t it preferable that they take calculated risks with the benefit of all the best information possible?
So, is Maine’s comprehensive sex education program working as it is? Maine public-health director Dr. Dora Anne Mills points to the stats.
Mills said one in 14 teenage girls in Maine was pregnant in 1985, and that fell to one in 27 in 2003, one of the lowest rates in the country.
If it aint broke, don’t fix it.
Portland Press Herald: Maine turns down sex-ed funds