Michael Emanuel Rajner

Healthy Teens Campaign: Governor Crist Agrees to Review Florida's Abstinence-Only Funding

Filed By Michael Emanuel Rajner | February 21, 2009 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: abstinence only education, Charlie Crist, comprehensive sex education, sex education

GOVERNOR CRIST AGREES TO REVIEW FLORIDA'S
ABSTINENCE-ONLY FUNDING

Healthy Teens logo.pngSarasota, FL -- The Healthy Teens Campaign, a broad-based group of over 80 organizations working together to advocate for comprehensive sex education in Florida public schools to improve the health and safety of Florida teens, applauded Governor Crist today for his commitment to

"review abstinence-only funding."

At a town hall meeting today in Ft. Lauderdale, Governor Crist was asked a question about government inefficiencies and wasting taxpayer dollars on ineffective abstinence-only programs.

Much more after the jump...

In response, Governor Crist said that he will "review abstinence-only funding."

"The weight of the evidence cannot be ignored, and it is time to answer tough questions about why we continue to waste millions of dollars a year on a policy that has failed to keep teens healthy and safe,"

said Adrienne Kimmell, Healthy Teens Campaign member and executive director of the Florida Association of Planned Parenthood Affiliates.

"We encourage Governor Crist to take the next step and join the 25 governors who no longer accept federal abstinence-only funding."

Currently, Florida receives the 2nd highest amount of federal abstinence-only funding in the country - nearly $13 million. In fiscal year 2008, Florida spent $6 million on abstinence-only programs through federal Title V abstinence-only funding, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Maternal and Child Health Grant Block (MCHGB) funding, despite the fact that abstinence-only programs have been proven ineffective.

Between 1991 and 2004 there have been more than 345,000 teen births in Florida, costing taxpayers a total of $8.1 billion over this period. In 2004 alone, the cost of 23,804 births to teen mothers, age 0-19, on Federal, State and Local Governments, and the taxpayers who support them totaled $489,158,000. Of the total costs, 52% were federal costs, and 48% were state costs. Added Kimmel:

Abstinence-only programs waste taxpayer dollars in the short-term and long-term. These programs have failed to be effective in preventing unintended pregnancy and the spread of disease which wastes money now and costs the taxpayers later.

Several recent studies have found abstinence-only programs to be ineffective. A nine-year, large-scale federally funded evaluation of the Title V program found no measurable impact on increasing abstinence or delaying sexual initiation among participating youth. Instead, it found that these programs actually decreased adolescents' confidence regarding the ability of condoms to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Last year, the nonpartisan National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy also found that abstinence-only programs have no real impact on teen sexual behavior. In addition, a 2004 congressional report found more than two-thirds of these programs distort information and mislead young people by giving them false information about contraception.

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Healthy Teens Campaign is a broad-based group of over 80 public health, faith-based, education, and medical organizations working together to advocate for comprehensive sex education in Florida public schools to improve the health and safety of Florida teens. www.HealthyTeensFlorida.org


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