Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Today's pick to click:
'The War on Abstinence'

"The ACLU and Planned Parenthood have teamed up in an aggressive campaign over the past several years—a campaign to pressure states to eliminate abstinence education and to reject federal funding for these programs. And though their work hasn’t drawn much attention, it has been remarkably successful. A year ago, only four states refused federal abstinence-education funding. Today the number is seventeen. The goal is to get enough states to refuse the federal abstinence-education funding to the point where the ACLU and Planned Parenthood can convince Congress to eliminate such funding entirely.

"All this is happening, by the way, as fresh reports arrive almost every month about the benefits of teen abstinence and the effectiveness of abstinence programs. ...

"[F]ew people seem aware of the coordinated effort to achieve all this that the ACLU and Planned Parenthood have undertaken (working in conjunction with such local groups as Advocates for Youth and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States). In this year’s Planned Parenthood annual report, the group boasts success in getting governors to reject federal funding for abstinence: 'The tide is shifting in America, and last year 10 governors refused' federal funding. On their website, you’ll find hyperlinks where you can 'help Planned Parenthood bring vital information about birth control and responsible decision making to the classroom' and 'tell your elected representatives it’s time to end dangerous abstinence-only programs and to stand up for real sex education!'...

"It's not alone in the fight. Federally funded comprehensive sex-ed is, apparently, a civil liberty, and the ACLU wants to make sure that every teenager receives it. The group’s website urges visitors: 'Stop the Abstinence-Only Charade! Federally funded abstinence-only-until-marriage programs are ineffective, medically inaccurate, and some may even use taxpayer dollars to promote religion. The ACLU is calling for an end to federal funding.'

"To advance this end, it has established a national campaign—'Take Issue, Take Charge'—to lobby at the state level. The current one is similar to another ACLU campaign—'Not in My State'—launched in 2005. That one targeted eighteen states to get them to reject the federal funds. Today, seventeen states already have: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Wisconsin."

— Ryan T. Anderson, from "The War on Abstinence," on the First Things blog today—a must-read exposé.