Responding to a Planned Parenthood – Illinois campaign, I sent my two cents to our Illinois chief executive, which I post here to my peril, exposing as it does my liberal leanings and, more damningly, my own sloppy thinking.
In a laudable effort to reduce unwanted pregnancy the spread of sexually transmitted diseases among our teenage population, the Bush Administration has unfortunately let ideology trump evidence and mandated that Federal Title V funding exclusively support ineffective abstinence-only-until-marriage sex education programs. I urge you to put the health, safety, and education of our children first by joining the 17 other governors who have taken a principled stand against this misguided Federal policy by rejecting Title V funding and adopting a comprehensive approach to sexual education in Illinois.
The U.S. has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the Western world and fully one out of every four teenage girls in the U.S has a sexually transmitted infection. We can [see] clearly in these troubling statistics the failure of the current ideologically driven abstinence-only policy. As a society, we can’t afford to continue to risk the futures of our teenage children by denying them the education they need to make informed decisions and to protect themselves from unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. Research has consistently shown that comprehensive, medically-accurate sex education is more effective in protecting young people’s health.
As a governor who has repeatedly stood up for health care, I urge you put young people’s health first by rejecting Title V funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. While the expense may be greater for the state to fund sexual eduaction itself, our current programs amount to a waste of taxpayer dollars because they are ineffective and incomplete. Funding a comprehensive approach to sexual education would ensure that public funds are spent on programs that provide accurate information and actually protect the health and safety of our youth. Surely the actual reduction in unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease should be the true measure of our moral progress, rather than any ideologically pure but ineffective gestures we might make.