So, at some point in the past, I filled out one of the Planned Parenthood forms to send a pre-written email to various government officials complaining about the Abstinence Only program. The other day, I got a response back from the office of Governor Charlie Christ. It wasn't from him directly, but it claims to come from his office. Here, I'll post it in full:
From: "Governor Charlie Crist" <Charlie.Crist@eog.myflorida.com>
To: "Governor Charlie Crist" <Charlie.Crist@eog.myflorida.com>
Subject: Thank you for contacting Governor Charlie Crist
Date: Mon, 30 Mar 2009 10:53:24 -0400
Thank you for your recent e-mail to Governor Charlie Crist regarding the
federally-funded Title V, Section 510 Abstinence Education Program.
Governor Crist appreciates hearing your views and has asked me to reply
on his behalf.
Governor Crist believes in a comprehensive approach and supports
programs that emphasize personal responsibility and quality abstinence
education. Abstinence education is only one of the strategies included
in a continuum of services provided by the Florida Department of Health
to protect the health and safety of Floridians, more specifically its
teenage population. Teens in the state of Florida may receive services
through the state's Family Planning program which provides a wide range
of family planning methods including abstinence only education.
The overall goal of the Abstinence Education Program is to prevent and
reduce teen sexual activity, teen pregnancy and births, and the spread
of sexually transmitted diseases by promoting abstinence as the expected
norm for unmarried teens. As such, the Florida Abstinence Education
Program implements programs and services that stress abstinence until
marriage as the most effective way to prevent unwanted pregnancies,
sexually transmitted diseases, and other health problems associated with
the early initiation of sexual activity.
The Abstinence Education Program has been well received in Florida since
its formation in 1999. As of June 30, 2008, the Florida Abstinence
Education Program has served more than 559,000 youth and 50,000 parents
and significant adults. Additionally, the program averages in excess of
5,500 unique visitors per month to its "Great to Wait" website with more
than 160,000 unique visits having occurred since February 2006. More
than 10,000 individuals and organizations have signed up for the
program's mailing list and 6,000 individuals have placed their e-mail
addresses on the program's e-mail distribution list.
The Executive Office of the Governor and Florida Department of Health
monitor changes in this program. Florida's Abstinence Education Program
will continue to apply for Federal funding using the Title V guidance
offered, while ensuring all proposed programs are in keeping with the
needs of their local communities and the State as a whole. All funded
abstinence programs in Florida are expected to address the risks
associated with early sexual activity, equip youth with the decision
making skills and support needed to make healthy, responsible choices,
and to focus on education and healthy relationships during their teen
years. Additionally, the program equips parents and significant adults
with the information, skills, and resources necessary to support and
educate their children in decisions related to sexual activity.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact Governor Crist. To
receive Governor Crist's weekly newsletter, "Notes from the Capitol,"
please visit www.flgov.com and click on "Subscribe to Notes from the
Office of Citizen Services
Notice how all his statistics could only say how many people have gone through the program? Notice how there isn't a single statistic to show how many of those people remained abstinent once having completed the program, or how many of them didn't get pregnant or have an STD? Notice how there isn't one single mention about the efficacy of this program? Just that "people like it".
Yeah, well, people seemed to like hanging black men a couple hundred years ago too ... doesn't mean it was a good policy.
Now, please, don't confuse that statement with me attempting to compare the tragedy of slavery and racism to the Abstinence Only program, my only point is that "people like it" doesn't mean that something works. And all the evidence so far shows that Abstinence Only not only doesn't work, but it's actively harmful because of its misinformation, lack of information, and the fact that teenagers are the least-likely demographic to refrain from doing something just because a grown up said "don't do that". Facts? What facts? We don't need no stinkin' facts!
So, there is his email address if anyone wants to write in and tell him what a stupid policy this is.