BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- Mitt Romney, responding to reporters' questions about sex education policy in the aftermath of the news that Sarah Palin's teenage daughter is pregnant, told reporters he had always thought abstinence should be part of a comprehensive sex education curriculum.
"I would not propose that people don't get any sex education but abstinence," he said.
But in 2006, as then-Governor Romney prepared to enter the Republican presidential primary, he announced with great fanfare that he would redirect money from a federal abstinence education grant -- money that had the state had been using to promote abstinence within comprehensive sex education programs and in PSA's -- into school programs that taught abstinence alone.
The move complied with new rules promulgated by the Bush administration restricting schools from using the money to teach anything but abstinence. The rules said programs funded by the grant must promote a strict eight-point message that premarital sex is harmful and that abstinence is the only way to prevent pregnancy.
The program that won the grant from the Romney administration to teach the new Massachusetts abstinence-only program, Healthy Futures, was a subsidiary of a Christian anti-abortion group, A Woman's Concern, though the Healthy Futures program itself did not promote religion or any particular views on abortion.
The Patrick administration followed a number of other states in backing out of the program last year because of the restrictions.
UPDATE: Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom says Romney's position on sex education has never changed and that all of the schools in Massachusetts with abstinence-only programs, he said, also had comprehensive sex ed programs.
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.