- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 25, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Cheryl Wetzstein’s column misses the point (“Sex education goes full circle,” Culture, Tuesday). President Obama’s budget proposal supports science-based programs proven to help teens make healthy and responsible decisions about relationships and sexual activity. This is not, as Ms. Wetzstein suggests, the same old back-and-forth in the tired culture wars.

Making government funding contingent on effectiveness is long overdue. Since 1996, Congress has appropriated more than $1 billion for failed programs that focus exclusively on abstinence and censor all other information that could protect teenagers’ health. Year after year, the funding increased despite mounting evidence that the programs do not work.

Much has changed since Congress funded the first Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage programs in 1995. We now know that programs that stress the importance of waiting to have sex and provide accurate, age-appropriate and complete information about how to use contraceptives can encourage teens to delay sex and reduce sexual risk-taking.

It’s time to move past the old ideological divides. America’s young people deserve better.

CAROLINE FREDRICKSON

Director

ACLU Washington Legislative Office

Washington

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