The February 26 Denver Post featured a lengthy article on Joneen Mackenzie and how she became a crusader for abstinence education -- a crusade she leads through her Center for Relationship Education, which is funded by a pair of grants, including one approved by the Colorado Board of Education even though then-Governor Bill Ritter had rejected the federal money earmarked for Colorado.
"Forbidden Fruit," an August 2011 Westword cover story , detailed how Ritter, in 2007, had signed HB 1292, a comprehensive sex-ed measure which stipulated that in-school sex-education programs must also supply evidence-based, medically accurate information on the use of condoms and other contraceptives, as well as the benefits of abstinence in eliminating STDs and teen pregnancy. So when the feds made abstinence-only funding available through Title V, Ritter declined to go for that money, instead electing to seek funding for comprehensive sex education through the federal Personal Responsibility Education Program.
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But members of the State Board of Education made an end-run around Ritter, starting with a letter that then-boardmember Peggy Littleton sent to then-Commissioner of Education Dwight Jones: "Give me a call to discuss so that we may move forward as quickly as possible to capture funding," she wrote "I will be happy to stop by before another meeting I have in Denver, or have Mrs. Mackenzie stop by CDE today, to pick up the letter..."
The Mrs. Mackenzie was Joneen Mackenzie, whose abstinence-only organization has used over $8.3 million in federal funding since 2005 to implement its training throughout the United States and around the world. And thanks to the board's defiance of Ritter's wishes, $233,000 of that came from Title V.
The Post piece on Joneen Mackenzie notes that Planned Parenthood recently linked to Westword's abstinence-funding story. Click to read "Forbidden Fruit."