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As the budget struggle drags on, there is a push on in Albany to support additional federal and state funding for abstinence-only programs -- those that dissuade funding for contraceptives and abortion services.

Fear-based, no-sex-until-marriage abstinence messages sound good, but in reality they are not protecting our youth against unintended pregnancies or disease. Gov. Pete Wilson of California canceled his state's abstinence-only program, saying: "It makes all kinds of sense. The problem is, it doesn't work."

Abstinence should be stressed as the one sure way of preventing an unintended pregnancy, along with STDs and AIDS. But we need to ensure that contraception, family planning and reproductive health services are also available.

Judith E. Paul Springville

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