Abstinence Programs Gain Federal Reprieve
March 29, 2010
Federal funding to states for abstinence-only sex education programs was restored in a provision of the health reform measure recently signed by President Obama. Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) proposed that $50 million be authorized annually over five years for states to support abstinence-only programs, and his provision survived the contentious legislative process that produced the health bill.
"We're very happy to see that funding will continue so the important sexual health message of risk avoidance will reach American teens," said Valerie Huber, executive director of the National Abstinence Education Association. "What better place to see such an important health issue addressed than in the health legislation?"
"To spend a quarter-billion dollars on abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that have already been proven to fail is reckless and irresponsible," said James Wagoner of Advocates for Youth, which supports sex education that includes information about preventing STDs and pregnancy by contraceptive means. "When on top of that you add the fact that this puts the health and lives of young people at risk, this becomes outrageous."
The health legislation also provides $75 million annually over five years for new "personal responsibility education" programs that include information about abstinence and contraception. Abstinence-only programs are probably not able to access such funding, Huber said. About 130 abstinence-only programs that receive direct federal support will still lose their funding in September, she noted.
03.27.2010; Rob Stein
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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