According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), HHS last year spent $153 million on abstinence education programs…
Set aside the issue of whether they do any good. GAO tried to see if they did any harm, and concluded they did: Some of the abstinence programs are telling kids stuff that just isn’t true. The GAO cites one program which told kids that HIV can pass through latex condoms, because latex is porous. (That’s false.)
The GAO gave the reasonable-sounding recommendation to HHS that it ensure that all information given to kids through these programs should be scientifically accurate.
If only the world were so simple! In response, the Department of Health and Human Services — which has on staff more than a few scientists and other educated types — said the GAO’s suggestion was useless. “GAO never defines the term ‘scientific accuracy’ in its report,” HHS complained. “As such, it is difficult to precisely determine the criteria employed by GAO in making the recommendations as to scientific accuracy.”