As this site has been reporting for some time, more and more states have been turning down US abstinence-until-marriage grants. By December of 2007, a mere seven months ago, around 15 states had turned down the money
: In January Arizona became the 16th state
, followed just two months later by Iowa
Now, an article in today's Associated Press reports
that participation in the program is down 40 percent over two years, with 28 states still in (barely half) and two more saying that they're leaving.
Some $50 million has been budgeted for this year, and financially strapped states might be expected to want their share. But many have doubts that the program does much, if any good, and they're frustrated by chronic uncertainty that it will even be kept in existence. They also have to chip in state money in order to receive the federal grants.
Iowa Gov. Chet Culver, a Democrat, made his decision to leave based on the congressionally mandated curriculum, which teaches "the social, psychological and health gains of abstaining from sexual activity." Instructors must teach that sexual activity outside of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects.
"It was just too strict," said Emily Hajek, policy adviser to Culver. "We believe local providers have the knowledge to teach what's going to be best in those situations, what kind of information will help those young people be safe. You cannot be that prescriptive about how it has to be taught."
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