The Senate Finance Committee has snuck $50 million per year for failed abstinence-only sex education programs into its version of the Healthcare Reform Bill. Proposed by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the amendment to fund abstinence-only passed by a razor-thin margin of 12-11 with Democratic Senators Blanche Lincoln (AR) and Kent Conrad (ND) joining all the Republicans, including Senator Snowe on the Committee in favor of the amendment.
This, despite the fact that more than 90% of parents support comprehensive sex ed in the classroom -- according to a 2004 national survey conducted by National Public Radio, the Henry Kaiser Family Foundation, and the Kennedy School of Government.
Don't let Congressional Democrats wimp out on opposing ineffective abstinence-only funding! Take action by sending an e-letter to your representatives. Fill out this easy e-mail form created by No More Money.
More information can be found by visiting the Housing Works Campaign Page.
Subject: Strip the Hatch Abstinence-Only Amendment from Health Care Reform
On September 29, the Senate Finance Committee approved two amendments providing millions of dollars in funding for the states -- one creating a comprehensive sex education program for the states and the other extending the failed Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage program.
While I am pleased to see funding for comprehensive sex education, I am concerned about the $50 million per year allocated that would restore the ineffective Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage program. These funds would be used solely for teaching abstinence-only-until-marriage to the exclusion of other sexual health topics and leave young people at risk.
The Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage program expired on June 30th and, at that time, had been refused by nearly half of the states both because of the restrictive nature of the program and the fact that overwhelming evidence has proven these programs to be ineffective and a waste of taxpayer dollars. The federal government's own study found these programs to be completely ineffective at their stated goals. We need to fund a comprehensive approach to sex education that informs young people how to make healthy decisions and promotes lifelong responsibility. A comprehensive approach to sex education includes the teaching of abstinence and has actually been shown to be more effective at getting young people to delay sexual activity than have abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. There is no reason to continue funding for such an extreme and ineffective approach.
I urge you to only fund a comprehensive approach to sex education, strip the Hatch abstinence-only-until-marriage amendment, and urge your Senate colleagues to do the same.
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This article was provided by AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
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