Budget Widens Teen Pregnancy Prevention Efforts
May 8, 2009
In his proposed 2010 budget, President Obama seeks to eliminate most federal funding for abstinence-only sex education in favor of programs that have been proven "through rigorous evaluation," according to an administration official.
Abstinence-only education is currently funded through two streams, one that provides money directly to community-based programs and is subject to an annual appropriations process ($95 million this year), and one that gives funding to states on an automatic basis ($50 million this year). The Obama administration is seeking to cut both programs, proposing two new ones oriented toward the larger goal of reducing teenage pregnancy.
The first program would cost $110 million, plus $4 million for program evaluation. Much like the program it is replacing, it would go through an annual appropriations process and require community-based programs to apply directly to the federal government for grants. Seventy-five percent of the money would go to programs proven to delay sexual activity, increase contraceptive use (without increasing sexual activity), or to reduce teen pregnancy. An administration official said no abstinence-only programs have met those standards through "rigorous evaluation."
The remaining money would be available to develop and test "innovative strategies" for preventing teen pregnancy. Abstinence-only programs could qualify for these funds, though they would have to compete with other initiatives, officials said.
The second program would give an automatic $50 million to states and be subject to the same 75 percent-25 percent split.
Supporters of comprehensive sex education lauded the proposal. "The Obama administration deserves praise for bringing science and evidence back to public health policy," said James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth.
Valerie Huber, executive director of the National Abstinence Education Association, said she is deeply disappointed and plans to fight the budget in Congress.
Wall Street Journal
05.07.2009; Laura Meckler
Illinois: All Eyes on Sex Education; As Congress Rethinks Abstinence-Only Policy, Local Schools Debate Change
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.