Iowa Governor Chet Culver has agreed to reject thousands of dollars in federal funding for abstinence only education programs. Culver made his decision after a teen pregnancy prevention group called on him to do so. Future-net executive director Rhonda Chittenden says by accepting the money, the state has to follow the federal guidelines in using the funds.
Chittenden says the educators are then limited by the information they can five out, so if kids ask about using contraception and condoms, the educators can’t give out that information. Chittenden says the abstinence programs are not only irresponsible, but also ineffectual.
"Research continues to show that abstinence only education fails to delay sexual initiation, reduce numbers of sexual partners, or prevent pregnancy in adolescents," Chittenden says. Chittenden encourages Iowa to join 16 other states in refusing federal funding for the abstinence only programs.
Sixteen-year-old Vanessa McDole is a peer educator at North High School in Des Moines says classmates are unfamiliar with condoms and birth control. She says people come up and ask her questions about things they should already know about since they are already having sex. McDole says students are acting without the right information.
McDole says students are "just jumping and not having any idea what they’re doing" as she says they make a five second decision that can tear up their whole life. Iowa received nearly $320,000 from the program last year. Chuck Hurley, the president of the Iowa Family Policy Center says teenagers are not responsible enough to use contraception and should abstain from sex altogether.