President Bush Wants Abstinence Program Funding Tripled by 2005

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 21, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

President Bush Wants Abstinence Program Funding Tripled by 2005

by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 21, 2004

Washington, DC ( — In his State of the Union speech last night, President Bush asked that funding for federal abstinence programs be doubled now and tripled by 2005. Bush has been praised in the past for increasing funding for abstinence efforts to reduce the incidence of teen pregnancies and abortions.

"We will double federal funding for abstinence programs, so schools can teach this fact of life: Abstinence for young people is the only certain way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases," Bush said.

Bush’s proposal would increase abstinence program funding from $80 million a year to more than $270 million in 2005.

The proposal met with positive response from pro-life organizations and pro-family groups.

James Dobson, president of Focus on the Family, said he was "pleased" that Bush "has unashamedly endorsed abstinence education and programs as the single best way to prevent our children from paying the awful price that sexually transmitted diseases extract from those who are sexually active outside the bounds of marriage."

The president said that Americans need to be more willing to present the abstinence message to young men and women.

"To encourage right choices, we must be willing to confront the dangers young people face — even when they’re difficult to talk about," Bush explained in the speech.

"Each year, about three million teenagers contract sexually transmitted diseases that can harm them, or kill them, or prevent them from ever becoming parents. In my budget, I propose a grassroots campaign to help inform families about these medical risks," the president explained.

Bush’s message fall on deaf ears to at least one member of Congress.

Pro-abortion Rep. Rob Simmons (R-CT) said Bush "overstepped his bounds" with his abstinence proposal.

"When it comes to some of the social issues, like marriage or birth control, those are best left to the states," Simmons told the Associated Press.

However, pro-life leaders say the need is great for today’s youth to hear the abstinence message.

"Our children need to hear the life-giving message that abstinence before marriage and monogamy after marriage are the safest and most rewarding expressions of intimate love," Dr. Dobson added.

"Decisions children now make can affect their health and character for the rest of their lives. All of us — parents and schools and government — must work together to counter the negative influence of the culture and to send the right messages to our children," Bush concluded.