Good news: President Barack Obama removes all government funding for abstinence-only sex education programs in public schools.
In particular, Obama’s 2017 budget proposal eliminates a $10 million-a-year grant program for abstinence-only education run by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Obama’s budget for the fiscal year 2017, the final budget of his administration, not only eradicates abstinence-only-until-marriage sex education funding, it also increases funds for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, maintains funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Adolescent and School Health, and calls for a five-year extension of the Personal Responsibility Education Program, according to a statement released by The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S.
Vice President for Policy, Interim President and CEO of the The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS), Jesseca Boyer, issued the following statement in response to the good news:
SIECUS is grateful for President Obama’s leadership in seeking to end abstinence-only-until-marriage funding once and for all. After three decades and nearly $2 billion in federal spending wasted on this failed approach, the President’s proposed budget increases support for programs and efforts that seek to equip young people with the skills they need to ensure their lifelong sexual health and well-being.
SIECUS also applauds the President’s proposed $4 million increase for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, helping communities implement evidence-informed and innovative strategies to support the sexual health of our nation’s youth.”
The continued funding for the Division of Adolescent and School Health and request for future Personal Responsibility Education Program funding demonstrates this administration’s commitment to secure the right to quality sexuality education for young people.
Bustle reports Congress has until the start of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1 to debate Obama’s 2017 budget.
Currently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers grants to states and territories for teaching abstinence-based curriculums in sex education classes. Obama’s 2017 budget would eliminate this funding completely, thereby removing a huge incentive for states to teach such programs.
Abstinence only sex education programs are dangerous and harmful programs rooted in religious ignorance and prejudice. While supporters of abstinence-only sex education often claim such programs delay sexual initiation and reduces teen pregnancy, the facts tell a different story:
Abstinence-only education programs are not effective at delaying the initiation of sexual activity or in reducing teen pregnancy.
Abstinence-only sex education programs are not educational, and rarely provide information on even the most basic topics in human sexuality such as puberty, reproductive anatomy, and sexual health.
Instead, abstinence-only sex education programs are most often covert vehicles to promote faith-based superstition and shame.
Bottom line: By eliminating funding for abstinence-only sex education programs, President Obama supports the sexual health of our nation’s youth.
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