taking abstinence money to teach sex ed?

I’m going to admit something here. Once upon a time I took some of the government’s abstinence money.

Not me personally, of course. I taught sex ed at a pretty progressive organization that got one of the federal government’s abstinence grants. Luckily, I was still allowed to teach comprehensive sex ed and the money was used in creative ways by my employers. But the situation always felt a bit weird to me.

It seems the agency I worked for was not the only one caught in a situation where they philosophically opposed abstinence-only education, yet still took money designed to promote it.

Apparently, the Pennsylvania Health Department is trying to do something similar.

The Health Department recently applied for 1.7 million dollars in abstinence grants. This wouldn’t be so weird in another state. But Pennsylvania hasn’t taken abstinence money since 2003 when it’s current governor took office and began pushing for more comprehensive sex ed.

So what happened?  Philly.com reports that the Health Department, "Did not want to stand in the way of community groups or schools that want to focus on abstinence-only."

Of course, the same health department spokeswoman who said this also, "Acknowledged that abstinence-only funding conflicted with the department’s philosophy that sex education should be comprehensive and should teach students about contraception and birth control as well as abstinence." 

In an era when fewer and fewer states take abstinence money this move is a little suspect.  But I guess it isn’t all that surprising in an era when there is also less money for public education and more of a sense that states have to appease the conservatives.


Posted in: Health, Sex & Relationships, The State of Sex Ed
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  • Sam

    I think that both abstinance and controceptives should be taught, because humans are curious by nature and if they decide to have sex, they should have knowledge as well as being safe…no matter what!

  • Ellen Friedrichs

    That's great! Thanks for passing along the link.
    -ellen

  • Check out this short video on comprehensive sex education vs. abstinence-only curriculum. http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/reality-check-
    Thanks,
    Brady Swenson
    RH Reality Check
    Thanks,
    Brady Swenson
    RH Reality Check

  • Blake

    Is Pennsylvania really that bad?