House Decision To Increase Funding For Abstinence-Only Sex Education

Armen Hareyan's picture

Abstinence-Only Sex Education


House Democratic leaders' decision to increase federal funding forabstinence-only sex education programs in order to attract Republicansupport for legislation (HR 976) that would reauthorize and expand SCHIP could "leave millions of young Americans vulnerable to sickness and suffering of the most preventable kind," New York Times op-ed contributor Amanda Robb writes in an opinion piece (Robb, New York Times, 10/18).

The House in July voted 276-140 to approve a $152 billion fiscal year 2008 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill (HR 3043), which includes a $28 million increase from $113 million for HHS' Community-Based Abstinence Education Program. CBAE gives grants to groups that teach abstinence but not how to use contraception (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 10/15).

Accordingto Robb, the U.S. has one of the highest teen pregnancy and abortionrates in developed countries and an increasing rate of many STIs. "Inaddition to provoking shame about a nearly universal activity,abstinence-only sex education is ineffective and dangerous," Robbwrites, concluding, "By dropping the financing for abstinence-only sexed, Congress could save enough money to insure 150,000 children a year.And it would also demonstrate much needed resolve to protect allaspects of children's health" (New York Times, 10/18).

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