by Steven Ertelt
September 21, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A Senate committee last week agreed to substantially increase federal funding of abstinence-only education. The move is a delight to pro-life groups, who say the added funds will help more teenagers avoid sexual diseases and lower pregnancy and abortion rates.
Leslee Unruh, president of the Abstinence Clearinghouse, said the vote "brings us closer to an effective national response to the problems associated with teen sexual activity."
"Abstinence education is working," Unruh explained. "More and more research is showing that abstinence-until-marriage education delays the onset of sexual activity."
A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report reveals that teen sexual activity has been declining steadily over the last seven years, which is about the time abstinence programs became federally funded, Unruh added.
The CDC recently found that 53 percent of the decline in teen pregnancy is due to increased abstinence education.
The Senate Appropriation Committee’s vote comes after the House of Representatives approved a bill earlier this month containing an increase in abstinence funding.
The House passed H.R. 5006 on September 10. The bill includes more than $105 million for competitive grants for abstinence-only education. That’s a significant increase over the $70 million that was approved in the fiscal year 2004 version of the bill.
Pro-abortion groups deny the effectiveness of abstinence education.
"President Bush and his friends in Congress continue their drive to test at any cost the theory that ignorance is bliss. But as in so many other areas, their refusal to accept reality will have disastrous consequences," NARAL interim president Elizabeth Cavendish said.
The total funding for abstinence programs under the House bill rises to $173 million, another record level, with the rest of the funds sent to states in block grants for public abstinence education programs.
The Senate voted to increase the funds to $138 million overall. Should the full Senate approve the funding increase, a conference committee would meet to work out the differences before sending the final bill to President Bush for his signature.
Related web sites:
Abstinence Clearinghouse — https://www.abstinence.net