Contraceptives added to abstinence in new courses

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - State officials say Arkansas sex-education courses funded with state and federal money are likely to change soon to include teaching about the use of contraceptives as well as abstinence from sex as ways to prevent teen-age pregnancies. The federal government has offered since the 1990s grants for courses that teach sexual abstinence.

But a state Health Department spokesman says such grants require 43 percent matching funds from local, state or private money, and the state cannot afford to provide the match. However, the health-care overhaul measure approved by Congress last spring includes a program providing grants to pay the full cost of sex-education courses that teach about contraceptives while still stressing abstinence. That's the program being considered by the Health Department.

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