New Jersey turns down federal money over abstinence-only rule

Posted on 26 Jan 2006 at 2:48pm
By Associated Press

Officials reject federal requirement to depict sex outside of marriage as potentially damaging both mentally and physically

TRENTON, N.J. The Corzine administration has rejected federal abstinence education money because new rules won’t let teachers discuss contraception and requires them to describe sex outside marriage as potentially damaging both mentally and physically.

State health and education officials sent a letter Tuesday to the federal government saying such requirements contradict the state’s sex education and AIDS education programs.

The state had accepted the $800,000 each year since 1997, but said new rules give them little flexibility.

“Some of the elements required are inconsistent and violate our own educational standards,” state Health Commissioner Fred M. Jacobs told The Star-Ledger of Newark for Wednesday’s papers.

New Jersey is the fourth state to reject the abstinence education money, after California, Pennsylvania and Maine.

“Monogamy is not a bad idea, but having the government of New Jersey dictate these things for families is not something we wish to do,” Jacobs said.

The state’s AIDS Prevention Act also permits schools to discuss contraception.

Conservatives questioned the decision.

“We should take a step back and try a new approach,” said Marie Tasy, executive director of New Jersey Right to Life. “What we have now is not working, as reflected by the rates of abortions and high incidence of sexually transmitted diseases.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, October 27, 2006.

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