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National News

Abstinence Education Gains Record Funding

March 25, 2003

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!

A record $120 million in federal money will be invested in abstinence education this year, including $117 million to ongoing programs and $3.5 million in one-time earmarks to specific programs. Abstinence education proponents welcomed the funding. "This is as high as it's ever been," said Heritage Foundation analyst Robert Rector.

Rector said the ultimate goal would be to place abstinence funding on par with current funding for contraception education, or at least $135 million. President Bush tried to achieve this by budgeting $73 million for one abstinence grant program; Congress funded it at only $55 million.

Project Reality, in Golf, Ill., and the Best Friends Foundation in the District of Columbia, both veteran abstinence-based programs, received earmarks $100,000 and $250,000, respectively. The remaining $3.2 million of earmarked funds will go to 31 programs in Pennsylvania. Sen. Arlen Specter, who pushed for the earmarks with fellow Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Rick Santorum, said, "Abstinence education is very valuable in promoting a viable alternative to sexual activity," thus reducing STDs, unplanned pregnancies and single parenthood.

Supporters of comprehensive sex education are dismayed by the new spending. "We are ignoring our young people's need for accurate and complete information by investing in unproven abstinence programs," said Kate Bowen Smith of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States.

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Even some supporters of abstinence programs have caveats for the funding, especially where faith-based programs are concerned. Leslee Unruh, founder of the Abstinence Clearinghouse in Sioux Falls, S.D., wants to see money only going to programs that focus at least 75 percent on abstinence. Unruh also wants faith-based programs to understand the impact of accepting government money. "With the federal dollars comes a huge responsibility to walk that line," she said. "I'm all for passing out Bibles, but you can't do that with federal money."

Back to other CDC news for March 25, 2003

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
Washington Times
03.24.03; Cheryl Wetzstein

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!



  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 
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