When it comes to the current state of abstinence-only education, there’s good news and bad.
The good news is that as of September, only 28 states will still be taking the government’s abstinence-only money. By October, that number will drop even further to 26, when Iowa and Arizona opt out of the program.
This means that in the past two years, 40% fewer states have been pushing the "no sex outside of marriage" party line. This drop is really significant when we consider that in 1998, when the program began, California was the only state that rejected the Title V funding that pays for such programs.
The bad news is that because the majority of states still get Title V funding, plenty of you will be hearing some pretty crazy stuff come September when school starts.
Take the situation in Kentucky. A recent report published by the Sex Information and Education Council of the US revealed some serious flaws in this state’s approach to "sex education."
Despite enormous amounts of research showing the failures of abstinence education, Kentucky, a state with a very high teen pregnancy rate, still accepts money for such programs. These programs, like many of their kind, not only pass on incorrect information, but many are also driven by old fashioned conservative values.
For example, one Kentucky organization that receives abstinence funding suggests that girls can avoid sex by telling guys: "You see these dotted lines? If you touch anything between them, you do so at your own risk. My dad has a very large gun."
Kentucky guys, on the other hand, hear from another agency, "Let’s face it. Waiting for sex is a real physical struggle for a guy…Pick your girlfriend wisely. She might have a pretty face and a nice body but those things don’t last. Find out beforehand if she has the same values as you. Why waste your time on someone who puts no value in her future and protecting it?"
The messages are that girls are still the property of their (gun wielding!) fathers, and that even though guys can’t control themselves, they still shouldn’t get tangled up with slutty girls.
So while it is great that fewer states than ever are running flawed abstinence-only programs, we shouldn’t forget that when school starts up again, plenty of American kids are still going to be getting more of the same.
Of course, with over half the states still taking abstinence money, Kentucky is far from alone. If you live somewhere that still teaches abstinence ed, I’d love to hear about the craziest things you were told.