LETTER- Pregnancy grants shameful

I am writing in response to "Don't do it: Abstaining from 'no-sex' ed," July 13. Thanks for reporting that the Pregnancy Centers of Central Virginia have received more than $600,000 in federal funds to promote their mission. 

Crisis pregnancy centers are anti-choice establishments that provide medically inaccurate and/or incomplete information to impressionable young women seeking advice and assistance. They use deceptive advertising tactics to present themselves as credible, legitimate institutions, thus creating potentially dangerous situations. 

Women who seek help in these centers are walking into a trap and are wasting valuable time during which they could be obtaining legitimate medical attention. Time is of the essence for women seeking an emergency contraceptive, which is back-up birth control that should be taken within 72 hours of contraception failure. 

The fact that organizations like the Pregnancy Centers have received millions of dollars in federal funds to promote abstinence-only education is shameful. Abstinence-only education programs are ineffective and irresponsible. Teenagers are going to experiment, and many will become sexually active by the time they graduate from high school. Recent studies show that while teens participating in abstinence-only programs, on average, did wait longer to engage in intercourse, they were much less likely to use protection when they did become sexually active. 

These programs do not provide the type of information about methods of contraception and disease prevention that sexually active teenagers need and deserve. While it makes sense to support teens who choose to abstain, it does not make sense to withhold accurate and potentially life-saving information from the teens who do choose to engage in sexual activity.

Rachael Kesler