Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle (D) notified federal authorities that he plans to turn down $600,000 in federal abstinence-only education funding. Wisconsin has received the federal funding since 1997, but new guidelines tying the money to abstinence-only education programs were implemented this year. These guidelines include that students be taught that sexual activity outside of marriage could have harmful physical and psychological effects and that students receive no information about contraception or sexually transmitted diseases and infections. Wisconsin is now the fifth state to reject abstinence-only funds in 2007, according to Kaiser Daily Women’s Health Policy Report.
Advocates of comprehensive sex education applauded Governor Doyle for his decision. “It’s great to have an administration committed to public health and reducing health care disparities and that has a commitment to women’s reproductive health care,” Lon Newman, executive director of the Wausau-based Family Planning Health Services, told the Madison Capital Times.
Doyle believes that, while abstinence should be taught in schools, it should not be the only thing taught, according to the AP. Last July, Doyle signed a new law into effect that instructs teachers to educate students that celibacy is the best practice for unmarried students to prevent unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases and infections. Unlike the new federal abstinence-only restrictions, the law does not prohibit students from learning about contraceptive methods, AP reports.