Money for abstinence is OK, but money for contraception sex education is not. Minnesota Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty who is by all accounts preparing for a Presidential run, has accepted a federal grant for teaching abstinence, but has turned down another grant that would teach teens about contraception. The grant he turned down would cost the state nothing in matching funds. The $500,000 in abstinence-only money he approved will cost the state $379,000 in matching funds.
Both grants are funded by the federal health care legislation that passed in March.
A press release from State Representative Erin Murphy (DFL-St. Paul) said it’s another example of the Governor putting his political ambitions ahead of Minnesota’s future.
“These grants would have helped preserve jobs and support at-risk teens while recapturing tax dollars Minnesotans send to Washington D.C. It should be a no-brainer,” said Murphy. Unfortunately, this is just more evidence the Governor has lost interest in being our Governor.”
The rest of the press release when you continue reading.
$850,000 was allocated to Minnesota as part of a $55 million appropriation by Congress for competitive personal responsibility grants. The purpose of the grants is to educate adolescents on both abstinence and contraception for the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases and to teach adult preparation subjects including financially literacy, parent-child communication, and career success. Local public health groups, schools, and health care providers could apply for competitive grants to implement programs based on scientific research that has proven effective. The deadline to apply for these grants expired on August 30, 2010. States that did not apply will be unable to do so in future years.
“We should be seizing opportunities to reduce teen pregnancies and help at risk teens succeed,” said Murphy. “It makes common sense, and in the long run, it helps save dollars and cents.”
Governor Pawlenty has rejected or delayed $1,734,000,000 in federal funds since May, including nearly $1 million per day in early Medicaid dollars for hospitals, clinics, and other health care providers. Other federal dollars rejected or delayed by Pawlenty include:
- Temporary High Risk Pool $68,000,000 Rejected: May 2010
for thousands of Uninsured Minnesotans
- Early Option Medicaid Enrollment for $1,400,000,000 Rejected: July 2010
- Federal Grant to Prevent Excessive $1,000,000 Rejected: August 2010
Health Insurance Premium Increases
- Federal Grant to Implement $1,000,000 Unknown: September 2010
- Extension of stimulus funding for $263,000,000 Unknown: September 2010
“The Governor might find rejecting federal dollars to be a winning political strategy in Iowa or New Hampshire, but it is not a winning strategy for Minnesotans who need jobs or schools that lack resources,” said Murphy. “While Minnesota stands still, other states are moving forward. We need leaders who will pursue every available option to get Minnesota’s economy and education system back on track.”