Abstinence Education Lobby 'Very Encouraged' By Tim Scott Senate Appointment

Scott once toured South Carolina talking about his own virginity.

In this Jan. 6, 2011, file photo, Rep. Tim Scott, R-S.C. listens at a House Rules committee meeting, on Capitol Hill in Washington. A Washington GOP official says South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has chosen Rep. Tim Scott to replace Jim DeMint in the Senate.
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Republican Rep. Tim Scott of South Carolina will vault into the Senate in January, and that makes some supporters of abstinence education very happy.

Scott began his political career as an outspoken 30-year-old virgin, and his appointment is seen as a boon by some members of the abstinence education lobby.

National Abstinence Education Association President and CEO Valerie Huber told U.S. News in a statement that her organization "is very encouraged by the appointment of Tim Scott to the Senate."

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Huber notes Scott is a co-sponsor of the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act, which puts a premium on abstinence education.

"He has been a champion of Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) Abstinence Education for many years, but this cosponsorship signifies his ongoing commitment to best health outcomes for youth," she said.

Under the bill, abstinence education would be eligible for $110 million in annual federal funding. The bill calls for teaching "the superior health benefits of sexual abstinence" and the "skills needed to resist the negative influences of the pervasive sex-saturated culture."

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In recent years, supporters of comprehensive sex education have snickered about "abstinence-only" education, with commentators pointing to the out-of-wedlock pregnancy of Bristol Palin, the daughter of former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. Bristol Palin has since become an outspoken advocate of abstinence before marriage.

Scott's personal story may also attract a leery eye from supporters of comprehensive sex education. Earlier this year, the National Journal noted that Scott, now 47 and still unmarried, has broken his vow of abstinence until marriage.

"I just wish we all had more patience," Scott told the publication, "the Bible is very clear: abstinence until marriage. Not to do so is a sin."

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Steven Nelson writes for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at snelson@usnews.com.