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Notes from the Hill


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Action needed on abstinence education funding. If the Massachusetts Legislature fails to act soon, the federal government will withdraw federal funding for abstinence education in the Massachusetts public schools. State legislators must “accept” the federal funding by including the $700,000-plus grant in this year’s budget legislation, just as they did last year, to keep the abstinence program in the middle schools alive. Planned Parenthood and its allies are aggressively lobbying legislators to reject the federal funds to eliminate any reference to abstinence in sexual education for children. The House Ways & Means Committee will release its budget proposals by April 10, so action is needed before then.

Key Points:

· The Department of Public Health funded Health Futures Abstinence Program (HFAP) uses medically accurate information to teach middle school students the importance of avoiding early sexual activity. Research has shown that abstinence education changes behavior and delays the onset of sexual activity.

· The program will cost the state nothing since it is fully funded by the federal grant.

· The program is optional and available to school districts across Massachusetts. During the 2006-2007 school year, over 7,000 students benefited from the program.

· The program is designed to augment a school’s sex education program, and in fact, these abstinence education funds are required under Massachusetts state law to “be used only in conjunction with the teaching of comprehensive sexuality education.”

Your help is critical! Please contact the chairmen of the Senate and House Ways & Means Committees as listed below and urge them to include the federal abstinence grant in the upcoming budget. Your message can be as simple as “I am calling Chairman ___ to urge him to include the federal abstinence grant funds in the upcoming state budget. Our children deserve to know about the importance of abstinence.”

You should also call your own state representative and senator, and explain the situation to them as well.

Rep. Robert DeLeo - Chairman, House Ways & Means Committee - (617) 722-2990 or Robert.DeLeo@state.ma.us

Sen. Steven Panagiotakos - Chairman, Senate Ways & Means Committee - (617) 722-1630 or Steven.Panagiotakos@state.ma.us

General phone number for other senators and repre-sentatives:

(617) 722-2000 (ask to be forwarded to the office of your senator/representative).

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