New Jersey announced last week that it will not accept $800,000 in federal funds to teach abstinence-only sex education. Sex education programs in states that receive the federal funds are not allowed to teach students about contraception, must describe sex before marriage as “potentially mentally and physically damaging,” and must teach that “sex within marriage is Ôthe expected standard of sexual activity’,” the Associated Press and Kaiser Daily Women’s Health Policy report. According to the Associated Press, New Jersey officials wrote in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt that the requirements tied to the federal money violate the state’s sex education and AIDS education programs.
State Health Commissioner Fred Jacobs said of the state’s decision to refuse the funds, “Monogamy is not a bad idea, but having the government of New Jersey dictate these things for families is not something we wish to doÉ It isn’t the function of the state government to create standards [for sexual activity],” Kaiser Daily Women’s Health Policy reports.
New Jersey joins three other states – California, Maine, and Pennsylvania – that have rejected federal money for abstinence-only sex education. According to William Smith, a vice president of SIECUS writing for RHRealityCheck.org, almost $200 million is spent on abstinence-only education annually.