The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Maine Rejects Federal Abstinence-only Sex-ed Funds

by Brendan Coyne

Sept. 23, 2005 – As the American Civil Liberties Union launched a national campaign to beat back abstinence-only instruction in a number of states, Maine’s governor said his state would decline federal funding of such programs for the second year in a row. Maine joins two other states, California and Pennsylvania, in turning down for abstinence-only sex-ed.

Tuesday, the Portland Press Herald reported that Maine Governor John Baldacci was declining $161,000 in federal funds in the upcoming fiscal year for a "sex" curriculum that instructs students not to have sex. Baldacci, who cited stringent use requirements, previously turned down $165,000 in such funding for the current year for similar reasons, the paper reported.

The move follows a Maine Department of Education notice to districts last month that abstinence-only education programs do not meet statewide public-health instruction requirements.

In the August statement, Maine Education Commissioner Susan A. Grendon said programs that fail to teach all aspects of sexual health do not meet state laws or regulations.

Prior to declining the funds, Maine education officials used federal money for public service announcements and programs aimed at educating children on the dangers of risky sexual behavior, especially when alcohol and drugs are involved, the Associated Press reports.

Maine’s teen pregnancy rates dropped 42 percent between 1991 and 2002, according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, a sex-ed advocacy group. The national rate dropped by about 30 percent during the same period.

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Brendan Coyne is a contributing journalist.

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