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• Since President Bush took office, almost $1 billion in federal funds has been committed to abstinence-only education.

• Free Teens USA, which last year received $600,000 to teach abstinence in schools, is linked to the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, who said that “the separation between religion and politics is what Satan likes most.”

• An exercise recommended by Free Teens has students spit into a cup, trade cups with another student, and then drink. Students are told that sex is more intimate than drinking someone else’s spit.

• In 2005, the CDC awarded an abstinence education group $200,000 to develop a sexual-health curriculum for doctors in training. The group tapped Dr. David Hager—opponent of Plan B and author of As Jesus Cared for Women: Restoring Women Then and Now—to head the project.

• The National Abstinence Clearinghouse, whose budget has increased more than 500% since 2001, has received $2.7 million in government funding to develop abstinence-only curricula.

• This year, the Abstinence Clearinghouse’s annual conference had a “Wizard of Oz” theme, including a panel titled “Ding, Dong, the Witch Is Dead! Which Old Witch? (The ‘Safe-Sex’ Witch).”

• Between 2001 and 2005, more than $30 million in federal abstinence funds went to more than 50 crisis pregnancy centers, anti-abortion clinics that give false information to women.

• Cotillions where girls escorted by their fathers pledge chastity are known as Purity Balls.

• At Purity Balls, fathers read this pledge: “I choose before God to cover my daughter as her authority and protection in the area of purity…as the high priest in my home.”

• Virginity pledgers are much less likely than non-pledgers to use contraception the first time they have sex, are equally likely to contract stds, and are twice as likely to engage in anal sex.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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