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Letters & Op-Eds - 2002

washington times

Abstinence Advocates Should Take Note of Church Scandal

Frances Kissling

10 April 2002

To the Editor:

On April 3, you reported that Republicans plan to hold hearings touting the success of abstinence-only programs in persuading young girls to remain abstinent until marriage ("Initiative touts schooling to abstain," Nation).

While many reports have shown that such programs are not successful, the most vivid example of the failure of abstinence-only programs can be found in the seminaries of the Roman Catholic church, a major lobbyist in support of such programs in our country's public schools. What, we ask, makes the church or socially conservative legislators believe they will succeed in persuading schoolgirls to be abstinent when the church is unable to persuade adult priests, who have taken a vow of celibacy, not to abuse children and teens sexually?

Perhaps President Bush's faith-based initiative should give a grant to Elayne Bennett of the Best Friends program to develop an abstinence-only program for the nation's Catholic seminaries.

Catholics for a Free Choice

This letter appeared in the 10 April 2002 edition of the Washington Times.