ACLU seeks more information on Oregon-based abstinence program

The Associated Press


The American Civil Liberties Union has asked the state to release documents used in an investigation of an Oregon-based abstinence program.

The ACLU requested in May that state and federal regulators look into the Lane County Pregnancy Center, a Eugene-based organization that administered the "Stop and Think" abstinence-only program used at a handful of schools nationwide.

The civil liberties group said public money may have been used for religious purposes, citing a contract signed by a South Dakota "Stop and Think" site that stipulated program presenters posses "an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ" and attend a "Bible-believing church or fellowship."

State and federal regulators both conducted inquiries and found no proof that public money was used for religious purposes.

But the ACLU this week asked Oregon Department of Health and Human Services to give them the documents used in the investigation. The ACLU of Oregon said it wants to know more about how the abstinence-only organization is monitored.

"There have been studies done that these types of abstinence-only programs are not effective, so it's helpful for us and the public to know if they are monitoring the effectiveness," said Jann Carson, associate director of the ACLU of Oregon.

In May, the state of Oregon mutually ended its contract with the Lane County Pregnancy Center, saying it wasn't being used.

The federal government now requires all staff members at the center to sign a statement saying they understand that proselytizing is prohibited in federally funded programs.

A center employee directed interview requests to the executive director, who could not be reached for comment.

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